I'm too exhausted to make a giant blog post about it right now, but I'm proud of what we, the GNOME community, have achieved. It's time to celebrate! Congratulations, everyone, and thank you for the amazing amount of hard work and can-do attitude that kept us on-track these past few weeks!
I have never been so proud to be a contributor to GNOME as I am right now. So many people are working so hard to deliver an awesome 3.0 release it would be impossible to name them all. In many cases people are taking time away from their families or personal lives to give our community the best launch experience—on schedule!—that we can possibly achieve. This is going to be the most user-focused release of GNOME, ever.
The past few weekends I've been skipping time away from friends and family to achieve the most visible contribution that I have made this cycle which has been to spin some marketing videos which we are going to use to promote GNOME 3.0 on launch day. The thinking is that short videos will increase the audience—especially among those who don't like reading release notes.
The first two videos are posted up on our YouTube account. We're using YouTube's HTML5 embedding mode to stream the videos in WebM on gnome3.org and work is underway to use Universal Subtitles for i18n and a11y purposes. That should be ready by launch day.
I'm going to use every last spare moment this weekend to finish as many as I possibly can in advance of our launch next week.
Let's get the word out about GNOME 3's better user experience!
I spent most of the day doing content production, so no session blogs from me.
Last night's Beer Summit hosted by Collabora: photos
Prototype (must all be re-filmed in three months) GNOME 3 launch video: WebM OGV (music CC licensed under Sampling Plus 1.0 by Jonathan Yamoty but may ultimately be replaced by a new composition by Joey)
Vincent opened up the discussion by doing a long review of the proposal which was discussed on desktop-devel (http://mail.gnome.org/archives/devel-ann
|From GNOME Summit 2010|
There were two major objections: translators were worried about quality of translations and having to create a new account to patch or contribute to projects that aren't hosted on gnome.org. To address translator objections, r-t is working with translation teams to come up with a more stringent quality guidelines and processes for Featured Applications.
Ted Gould brought up his proposal from the mailing list to define a core GNOME desktop moduleset that doesn't include Shell so that Ubuntu can continue to say that they embrace GNOME. There was some disagreement about this and the conversation was postponed until tomorrow.
What happened next was, in a nutshell, a one and half hour long disagreement about the definition of Featured Applications, whether it makes sense to expend the energy on the delineation at all, and whether the designation has any value for GNOME and for the application receiving it. It would be too difficult to cover all aspects of this discussion among the eight parties whom were principally involved. And, since I was one of those parties, it wouldn't be entirely objective. However, there was some agreement and some things left unresolved.
In the category of agreement the following aspects were clear: the definition of GNOME is the Core and Platform modulesets and the wider GNOME infrastructure hosted and supported modules are--regardless of whatever else they are designated--at the very least GNOME Project. There was also agreement that we, as a project, want to promote good applications in our ecosystem, in the short term, and, in the long term, go the direction of something like an app. store.
With regard to areas of disagreement, the session ended without much conclusions, however, a discussion afterward between a few parties sounded optimistic and so we may see a way forward announced in the coming weeks.
Owen opened the session by saying that historically we have relied on the Board and Marketing Team to articulate our goals and that that hasn't been fair to either of them. The motivation for this session was to set goals as a community.
He set some guidelines for goals: motivational, realistic, determinative.
To start the conversation, he took a look back at some old GNOME goals:
- Build a Free Software replacement Windows
- Pretty good goal: motivational, effective
- Ten years later it turns out that Windows doesn't matter that much
- 10% Market Share by 2010
- Bad goal
- GNOME Online Desktop is to adapt is to adapt the desktop to become the perfect window to online service
- Not motivation because it makes the desktop irrelevant
|From GNOME Summit 2010|
Owen tried to capture some major themes that we can all agree on, at the moment:
- GNOME is a community of people building Free Software for users
- Computing space is mind-boggling big: billions of users, markets, dollars
- We don't need to dominate the market to be a successful project
- But we do need to provide something great to our users
- We can't be "for users" unless we meaningfully control the user experience
- A desktop OS is only a small piece of the computing experience
The question Owen proposed to stimulate the discussion:
Giving all your data to Facebook or Google provides a great user experience. How do we provide an experience in the control of the user that is as good? Better?
With that he opening the floor to brainstorming.
Where should GNOME be going?
Ideas thrown out:
- Work with devices better
- Sync contacts
- Work with all devices
- integrate with home media
- Don't have an agenda--support user's choice
- Concentrate on things that aren't natural web apps (content creating)
- Work with web apps
- Put user more in control of existing apps
- Extract/backup data
- Shotwell example
- Single setup of web services across desktop
- Proactively working with services to adapt to changes
- Proxy so we don't need SW update
- Provide long term support story
- Technology provider
- Align with Mozilla--consortium for user control
- Focus on offline experience
- Web apps as 1st class "apps" /Deep integration of web/desktop; create standard for web developers
- App menus, Jumplists
- A beautiful experience (revisit HIG, animations, polish)
- Run on other form factors
- App. development platform/developer experience
- Best environment for developers
- Not just desktop developers
- Work with hardware vendors (OEM's)
- A knowledge base with direct desktop apps. links
- Target an audience
Owen brought the discussion back together and asked for any ideas on how to boil all of this down in to more coherent, articulable goals.
An over-arching theme of the ensuing discussion was on how difficult it would be to boil this down but that--historically--people have come up with great ideas and sold it to the rest of the community. He hoped that would happen again. There was a lot of discussion about what the end result of all of this brainstorming would be.
The session was closed without any conclusions and with a plan to get wider community participation. Owen will be sending out an email or a blog post on the topic, soon.
Stormy opened the session by giving an overview of the target: users who feel that they would like to contribute but don't know how because they aren't technical.
|From GNOME Summit 2010|
- 400 new subscribers
- Use a progress bar on the web site similar to the sysadmin campaign
- Any dollar value
- New t-shirt
- Videos of developers talking about how funding helps hackfests
- Track referrals from people
- Track referrals from online advertising
Someone asked if there were any demographics about donors from the past year. Stormy replied that the data is there--based on country--but someone would need to compile the data.
There was a discussion about getting academic communications departments involved in this and other marketing departments. Everyone loved this idea but it was decided that we're too close to the end of the year (the target for this campaign) to specifically try to involve an academic project.
The floor was opened to a discussion of rewards for contribution in addition to a T-Shirt: foam GNOME foot trinkets, stickers, a membership card.
We discussed implementing referral tracking by integrating our PayPal data with our CiviCRM installation. The action items out of this discussion were:
- Text for ruler (Paul)
- Clean up Friends of GNOME landing page (Og)
- Fix subscriptions
- One time
- Ask for location
- Annual subscription (Og)
- New t-shirt (Joey)
- Community assistance for distribution (Vincent)
- Collectible doodad with year on it, 300 qty (Joey) (maybe Andreas?)
- Membership cards with member number (Og)
- Map mash-up of contributors
- Getting the word out
- Design 2 ads (Joey)
- Social networking (Og)
- Radio jingle (Joey)
- LWN (Stormy)
- Email current subscribers (Paul)
- Videos of developers talking about hack-fest funding via Friends of GNOME (Jason/Joey)
- Launch new Friends of GNOME site - Nov. 16th
- Annual item per year (doodad) - Nov. 18th
- Map mash-up - Nov. 21st
- Launch promotional avenues - Nov 22nd
- Membership cards - Nov 22nd
- T-Shirts - Dec. 31st
I'll be frantically typing up the Boston Summit sessions that I attend, as I did last year, so watch this space to keep abreast if you can't make it--or even if you can make it and prefer to spend the whole time in the "Hallway Track." People seemed to appreciate the blog posts last year. The style was to hurriedly type up each session and post it immediately at the conclusion of that session.
I'm armed with a new Sony a55 camera with good low-light performance this year, so much gorilla photography will be happening, as well. Might want to think about that before you leave the hotel room in your pajamas in the morning ;-).
One session I will not be typing up will be the one that I'm tentatively planning on leading about the marketing team's GNOME 3 launch video project. As I write this, the first two video's green screen, human segments and accompanying audio files are uploading to my gnome.org web space. The screen cast segments, artwork, and kdenlive project files will follow.
They came out pretty well for being done on a budget of only $150; the target of 720P will be easily achievable. I borrowed the green screen from a friend and I already had the camera. I originally tried filming on a little point-and-shoot Sony HX5V with 720P capability. The colors were washed out and there was some terrible interlacing artifacts. The newest attempt with the new, aforementioned camera looks fantastic, by comparison.
Audio-wise, I already had a PCM-D50 stereo recorder and so the in-camera audio is going to be replaced by the audio files recorded by this device. I placed it on a table in front of me during recording and--while the room wasn't ideal (there's some reverb)--I think the end result that I've uploaded is workable especially given that there will be some faint music in the background.
As luck would have it, I am sharing a room with Joey whom has expressed an interest in composing an original piece of music for our videos. With a little more luck and some help from the GNOME Shell team on building Florian's re-layout branch, we could have the prototype video 1 and 2's posted by the end of the Summit.
If things go fantastically well, maybe we can record some short clips of attendees thanking the Friends of GNOME donors for helping finance travel. Something in the format of: Sponsored by GNOME banner, fade to thank-you from attendee, fade to Sponsored by GNOME banner. Monday is in the Media Lab building so perhaps there will be some ideal shooting conditions, there. I already emailed some people about this but haven't gotten a response--it's up-in-the-air, at the moment.
I have finished filming the first GNOME 3 launch video. In the coming days I'll post the video for review to the marketing-list so that I can get some feedback. And then, it will go on to the translators for subtitle translation (a11y and i18n are important to the GNOME community!) And then, with a little luck, the video should be up somewhere public shortly thereafter with all the "source" files so that the videos can be re-mixed and branded by downstream distros. But that's not what this post is about.
I hope that you all agree that it would be pretty lame if I'm the only guy in all the launch videos so I hope we can get good diversity of speakers in our videos representing the different nationalities and different ablednesses of our community. From my own experiences, I updated some "best practices" on the HOWTO here: http://live.gnome.org/GnomeMarketing/Gno
I filmed the first idea on this page: http://live.gnome.org/GnomeMarketing/Gno
If you are interested, please join the marketing-list and coordinate there. Looking forward to seeing the creativity of the GNOME community!
We got so much done marketing work done last week in Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain. The city was beautiful and I'm more energized and optimistic about the GNOME 3.0 launch than ever before! There were so many smart people with the right skills that came to this hackfest and we achieved so much!
But first, a huge thanks to the hosts of our hackfest, the GNOME Foundation, ASOLIF, CESLA, the municipality of Zaragoza (pronounced like Saragossa), Technological Institute of Aragon (ITA) and the regional government of Aragón:
Also, a few people helped us immensely planning the logistics and in feeling welcome in what, for many of us, was not a language and culture we were familiar with. Alberto Capella, Technological Institute of Aragón, made sure that we had a great hacking space and organized our meetings with the local communities and governments. Agustín Benito Bethencourt, ASOLIF, worked his magic and made sure that everything happened on time; he also made sure we had some great food while we were here. Ignacio Correas, CESLA, also made sure we had a great experience; I enjoyed sharing some beers with him in the local night-life. Daniel Baeyens from the local GNOME community helped with our interfacing with the local community and finding the resources we needed to do video work.
Also, thank you to Paul Cutler and Stormy Peters from GNOME for coordinating the hackfest with the local teams.
Everywhere we went we saw GNOME running on computers! This region is serious about free software!
We began with a recap of the November 2009 Marketing Hackfest which brought all participants up to speed with where the marketing effort was at: what work had already been done. For the most part this was the launch theme, "Made of Easy;" where all of our energy would be spent, on current users of GNOME 2.x; and what materials, broadly, would be produced for the launch: GNOME Ambassador materials, a launch landing page, videos, talking points. Stormy added that GNOME, generally, is messaged as
a desktop that's accessible to anyone, regardless of money or ability.
Thank you! to my co-participants for making it easy to start from there. We could have gotten bogged down in revisiting the November hackfest but everyone accepted the givens and we got right to work.
By the time that the hackfest began, we knew a lot more about what will be in GNOME 3.0 than we did 6 months ago. Additionally, Vincent Untz, of the release team, was able to give us a much more informed view than we've had before. Taken together, we were able to nail down the major features we are going to talk about to the public: the improved user experience (GNOME Shell + search), topic-based help, performance improvements, improved art (symbolic icons) and a new theme, all the great GNOME apps we have now plus great new applications (the details that the release team will decide and then release in the coming weeks).
An important central theme is that, for current users of GNOME 2.x, the experience is a huge improvement over the Windows 95 tyranny that everyone has been living under for the past fifteen years. We have feature parity with GNOME 2.x desktops, but we are taking bold new design decisions in the desktop chrome; taking two steps forward, and no steps backward. GNOME 3 is that new, improved experience with all the great apps you already use and love, continuing to work as that always have. For those who don't want to change, the old panel is scheduled to be maintained for at least another five years for the RHEL 6 release.
On the "no steps backward" point, months ago, there was some concern that there would be a11y related regressions but the Spanish community has been heavily involved in the a11y effort and the team that is working on the last remaining feature that was a concern, the GNOME on-screen keyboard, was there and was able to tell us that they see that being ready in time for 3.0.
We started to discuss some specific examples to throw out to people as examples of the improvements that have been made but we delayed that conversation a little bit until the video team had its meeting the following day. The videos were to be composed of just such examples and so it seemed only logical to do that work there.
With everyone on the same page, over the following three days we made a lot of progress. Others where were on other teams can speak better about their accomplishments (check them out!) but here is my take on the outcomes:
We organized, updated, and created materials used to host a booth or speak at one of the insanely large number of conferences that occur each year around the world. Importantly, the source files for printing a banner, t-shirts, presentations, and brochures are provided so that--when it is impractical to send those around the world--a local team can have the needed items created.
They also brain-stormed some names whom they could ask to become Ambassadors. I won't drop those names here but I think that anyone from the list that they have would be wonderful!
They also spent a lot of time coming up with a technical method by which someone can get a clean, un-distro-ified GNOME desktop to use for demos. The last I heard, they were close to having something based on OpenSUSE Studio's live CD/USB generation site.
Daniel and I hammered away at story boards for six, 30-second videos, first. Those are posted up at the marketing wiki. Namely, we have the following list, but are looking for more ideas:
- GNOME 3 protects you from unwanted interruptions
- GNOME 3 makes it faster, more efficient, and logical to make use of workspaces. No more noobies losing all their windows by accidentally clicking on the workspace switcher icon.
- GNOME 3 makes it easy to rapidly launch applications
- GNOME 3 keeps track of apps and will, by default, bring them to the front rather than launch a new instance. It does, however, not break compatibility with apps that need multiple instances or windows.
- GNOME 3's text editor will have built-in support for many-user collaborative text editing over telepathy-based IM.
- In GNOME 3, Evolution has gained the ability to automatically configure email client settings for a wide range of web-hosted email accounts. This information is continually kept up-to-date on GNOME servers and fetched when adding a new web-hosted email account (like GMail).
Next, we worked out many of the technical details needed for filming both the screen cast components of the videos and the green-screened talking-head segments. I will be creating between one and three such videos from the list above to use as the creative basis for the rest. Those one to three first runs will be done by GUADEC (coinciding with the GNOME 3 launch landing page unveiling) so that more filming can be done at GUADEC. I don't have enough vacation time to make another trip to Europe this year and so we have created a HOWTO posted here that explains how the first videos were created so that a video team at GUADEC can capture more videos; I think that filming at GUADEC also gives us an opportunity for a wide diversity of the GNOME community to be represented in these videos.
An important detail is that--rather than just post the finished, encoded files--we will post all the original source materials needed to remix or create new videos in our community. Localizing the videos becomes easier. Also, this makes it easy to go back to the original videos and update them for any subtle UI changes that happen by early August.
Finally, the end of each video will have a plaque that contains "with GNOME 3" in the lower right leaving a large blank, white space for distribution branding. We want distros to steal these videos and feel free to remix and re-brand them to promote their own distribution. This helps GNOME by synchronizing our message to our users across all distribution marketing efforts (if they should choose to take advantage of this).
The landing-page team, and especially the incredibly awesome Andreas, hammerred out the design of the 3.0 launch site. He posted it up here.
We hammered out, as a large group, the timeline of actions needed to be taken by the marketing team. The list is huge and there's plenty of room for more help! If you're a non-coder, this is one of the many ways to get involved in GNOME. The entire 3.0 launch roadmap is posted here.
On the final day, we all had a discussion about how to help distributions with their messaging about GNOME 3 and also how to talk directly to our base about the diversity of distribution support for GNOME 3. The exciting thing is that GNOME 3 will be available on all distributions at various levels of integration. We'll be communicating with distros to get a better understand of how to position them to our users on our launch site and in other communications.
All in all, it was hugely productive and a great time, too.
GNOME 3.0 is going to rock!