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Friends of GNOME

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)
  • Merchandise
    • 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)
    • Google
    • 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

GTK+ Animation Framework and Clutter 2.0

Emmanuele Bassi lead this session. He opened the quick recap that the last GTK+ hackfest discussed adding an animation framework to GTK+ inspired by Clutter's. (This topic has been covered in blog posts on Planet GNOME.) He quickly, also, recapped his effort to port Clutter to the new GPeriodic clock so that GTK+ and Clutter share a single paint clock implementation. At minimum two features would be needed: the paint clock and a timeline.

From GNOME Summit 2010

Clutter has an animation framework. Emmanuele covered its features for the audience whom were mostly unfamiliar with it including a demo for audience members whom had questions about the difference between the Animator and new State engines. Owen wondered why they both exist; Emmanuele replied that they are not completely equivalent--in particular Animator is designed to use JSON to describe the animation.

From GNOME Summit 2010

Ryan Lortie, Owen Taylor, Benjamin Otte and Emmanuele had a *long* side discussion about the value of using JSON as an animation description language and, further, whether it makes sense to make full-blown JavaScript expressions to allow animation description to evaluate the scene to compute the final values. This branched out in to a discussion of what level of theme-based control makes sense: CSS? Expressions?

This side conversation turned out to be the crux of the entire path going forward: what level of control make sense for theme authors?

There were no conclusions from this session, at all. Only questions and questions wrapped in questions.

What's Left for 3.0 (Owen)

Owen started the session by showing off what recent changes have landed and are about to land: the Shell UI integrated system status icons (audio volume slider, a11y feature enabler), the new window theme, the rewrite the shadow engine (with support of shaped window shadows).

From GNOME Summit 2010

Returning to the theme of the system tray and notifications, he discussed the designers' philosophy of only having hardware related icons in the upper-right and not--for example--system update notifications.

Florian's overlay re-layout branch which reflects the work of the design team is "hopefully landing extremely soon." He built this branch and showed it separately as he was talking. This includes a new stream-lined left-hand bar for your favorite apps, file manager and mounted file-systems.

I asked where the Documents view has moved in the new design. Owen said that it will go in the re-layout but may not make it in time for 3.0. If that's the case, Nautilus will be in the default favorite apps list.

Ryan asked that we go over the change from the current design to one that doesn't zoom out as much. Jon McCann took that topic and said that the original design was too cluttered and the effect of zooming out was too jarring. In the new design, the windows still do the Exposé-style effect.

From GNOME Summit 2010

Owen presented a list of major items remaining for 3.0 and those that are not achievable in time for the release:


  • Tracker integration
  • Network manager Shell UI
  • App menu
  • Jump lists
  • Keyboard indicator applet
  • Fallback
  • Multi-monitor (polish)


  • Contacts integration
  • Extensions ecosystem
  • Accessibility
  • On-screen keyboard
  • Screen-reading
  • End user testing

Canonical offered to do user testing of Shell at the same time that they were testing Unity. That offer was neither rejected nor accepted.

Owen was adamant that we all dog-food GNOME 3 as much as possible.

Someone asked about the new control center. Dan showed it off and there was a lot of discussion about the jarring resize of the window. Animated window resize turns out to be a very difficult problem to solve in X11 but a couple of ideas were floated including using an XSync communication with the window manager to animate the window and the contents resizing or waiting until client side windows are ready.

GNOME Summit 2010: Opening Session

John Palmieri opened the summit by saying that this is our most important summit: the summit in preparation of GNOME 3.0. He reminded volunteers that this--as opposed to GUADEC--is more of a summit to get things done.

From GNOME Summit 2010

Jon McCann was invited up to give an overview of the status of GNOME Shell and 3.0.

From GNOME Summit 2010

He started by thanking Stormy for her service to the GNOME family.

He surveyed the list of TODO's up on the wiki. The control center is a particular point which needs attention and he was hoping to focus on that this weekend. Additionally, a couple of new themes and GTK+-related theme changes, and preliminary newly designed font.

One of the action items for the release team is to get the new "Core" jhbuild module set defined so that everyone can develop against a complete core GNOME 3 stack, easily.

He handed back to John saying, "Let's get shit done."

John invited everyone whom was interested up to pitch a session and to write it on the board. After this was done, sessions were scheduled to the room grid with as little overlap as possible using a show of hands to measure interest.

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.

Going to Boston Summit 2010

I am confirmed for the Boston Summit 2010; going to run a session on the GNOME 3 Launch Videos.

If you are looking for someone to share a room with, I am too. Let me know if you'd like to share: me AT jasonclinton period com.

Help Needed: GNOME 3 Launch Videos

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/Gnome3In30Seconds/HOWTO. I did it all for less than $150. (I only had to buy the work lamps from a hardware store.) However, if you're a student at a university or if you ask around, you may be able to do this with no budget at all.

I filmed the first idea on this page: http://live.gnome.org/GnomeMarketing/Gnome3In30Seconds so there's plenty more ideas.

If you are interested, please join the marketing-list and coordinate there. Looking forward to seeing the creativity of the GNOME community!

I'm in downtown Boston next week; let me know if you would like to meet up and talk GNOME over dinner on either Tuesday (1st) or Wednesday (2nd) evening.

The following week I'm in Portland and will be available for dinner on Wednesday (9th) and Thursday (10th).

In Houston for the entire next week!

I'll be in Houston, Texas on business for the entire coming week through Friday night (the 21st). Hit me up if you want to meet up for dinner some evening between Tuesday and Thursday and talk about GNOME or FOSS!

GNOME Marketing Hackfest Spring 2010

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!


color, uphair, smile
Jason D. Clinton

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