Friday, September 02, 2011

Desktop Summit 2011

Last month I attended the Desktop Summit 2011 in Berlin.  Unfortunately I was only there for the core days because Berlin is an awesome city and the summit is awesome too.

The quality of the talks this year were great, and I only had one or two slots the whole time where there was nothing I wanted to go to.  This summit felt more integrated than the last one and I hope this continues into the future.

Some highlights:
  • There was a good response to LightDM.  I felt my talk had a lack of GNOME people present, but I think the GTK4 talk may have absorbed them.
  • Lennart did a well researched talk on revamping the login system which sounds very good and left me wanting to know more.
  • From what I heard the future of GTK+4 and Clutter looks very promising, but I haven't been able to see the talk as I was doing mine.  Can't wait for the videos to come out so I can find out more.
  • Vincent Untz is did a really thoughtful talk on his experiences as a GNOME release manager.
  • GNOME Shell seems to be progressing very well and there were a lot of talks on it.
  • Plasma/KDE also seems to be doing a lot of innovation.
Some negatives:
  • There was basically no mention of Unity.
  • There was the usual amount of Canonical bashing and it's not helping anyone.  The GNOME State of the Union had too many cheap jabs and the half hearted laughter shows it's just not funny anymore.
  • There was a lack of Canonical people present, and it was commented on numerous times.  I'm personally not surprised, as every year more of my colleagues just don't want to be there.  Andrea Cimitan, who is a great guy, summed it up when he said on Google+ "when I say around here I'm working for "Canonical", people stop smiling :)".
  • There was little mention of GNOME OS.  Sometimes we need to be more than just hackers talking about technology and really talk more about planning and strategy.
What I'd like to see at the next summit:
  • Increased visibility of other desktops - it still feels very GNOME and KDE centric, I think we can learn a lot from projects like XFCE, LXDE, Elementary, Unity etc.
  • Increased collaboration on infrastructure - we need to get in a better shape so we can pool out resources on the boring stuff and focus more on the user facing component which make us successful.


Anonymous said...

"half hearted laughter shows it's just not funny anymore"
While I agree that the situation isn't very funny, I thought the response from the audience in that talk showed that the jokes went off really well, and that reflects on how ridiculous the situation has become.

Juanjo Marín said...

As GNOME contributor it is sad to know that some Canonical fellows didn't come to the Desktop Summit because they didn't feel welcomed.

Although we have some differences, we have also much more things in common and I'd like to think that a few people have such misbehaviour because someone's affiliation.

PS: For the reference, I don't like the Canonical direction, but I don't have anything against their staff. I feel as well that the copyright assignment has built some artificial barriers between us.

Anonymous said...

Juanjo: Interestingly, there were twenty or so Canonicalers at the Desktop Summit but only 2–3 made it to the Group Photo session—people were generally being busy getting on with hacking!

PS: For reference, Canonical does not require Copyright Assignment for patches to its upstream projects: see and the Contributors' FAQ.

Juanjo Marín said...

sladen: Yes, you're right, sorry. My sentece is misleading.

To be correct: you grant to Canonical the right to license your contribution under any license, including copyleft, permissive, commercial, or proprietary licenses.

Anonymous said...

@sladen, They used to until quite recently and changed their agreement silently. Now instead of asking for outright copyright assignment, you give a very permissive license and patent rights and don't even get a patent license back. Not necessarily a better thing.

Andreas Nilsson said...

For people from Canonical feeling a bit alienated at the event, I feel somewhat the same way when I go to UDS as a GNOMEer (or rather with my GNOME hat on, because it's really all about the hats).

Someone once said "I am so upset at you because I love you so much.", I think this is true for my relationship to Ubuntu.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: The Canonical Copyright Licence Agreement linked above states that a contribution must be published (at least once) under the current/original project license: ("Section 2.3 Outbound Licence … We agree to …
license the Contribution under the terms of the license … we are using … on the Submission Date.")

Since most of Canonical's upstream stuff is published under the {,A,L}GPLv3, you'd be getting a patent licence by way of that. ("11. Patents. Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license …").

…And AFAICT the same requirements are covered by other outbound licences. For Apache v2 ("3. Grant of Patent License. … each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable … patent license").

It seems clear that inbound patent licence is to enable the (required) outbound distribution.

My reading and understanding of this is, that if you provide a patch and you're happy with the current outbound licences' patent grants then you and everyone else are implicitly getting it back under the same again.

Does that match up with your understanding?

Anonymous said...

"There was the usual amount of Canonical bashing and it's not helping anyone. The GNOME State of the Union had too many cheap jabs and the half hearted laughter shows it's just not funny anymore."
I agree it stopped being funny a long time ago… sadly it didn't stop being true.