my blog

Friday 13 August 2010

My late GUADEC post

I came back from the Hague after GUADEC nearly two weeks ago, and I still haven't posted anything about it. Bad me. The short summary: it was a really great event! I don't know exactly why, but I'm thinking it's the GUADEC I enjoyed the most. Many thanks to all the organization team who did a fantastic job! Also a big thank you to the sponsors who made this event possible!

GUADEC Group Photo

GUADEC Group Photo by Nicolas Christener (Creative Commons by)
See the whole set or download the full sized pictures.

The first few days of the events were quite busy between a good board meeting on Sunday (woo, and the last one for me!), a Monday where Frédéric and I chatted with various teams about the current status of GNOME and an advisory board meeting with useful feedback on Tuesday. Busy but good busy. And after that, the event simply went well. I don't think I attended many presentations since I used most of my time to chat with people — that's what is most useful for me at events.

Some tidbits about the event (I have more coming in a later post):

  • The first thing I did when I got at the hotel: I slept for a few hours. Jetlag. When traveling from France to the Netherlands.
  • Apparently, Diego and Germán slept together, and took a shower together. I'm happy for them!
  • Quote from the very first evening: This is not javascript, this is real code. -- Diego, who works on a web browser.
  • Somehow, I couldn't stop saying we when talking about the board. I guess that's what happens after four years and a half.
  • Daniel (or David? ;-)) has a twin, Adrien, and it turns out they were sharing the same room.
  • We had a release team meeting during the event. On IRC. (only two release team people were in the Hague on Monday).
  • I was surprised to see the GNOME roadmap we've started working on in Jon's slides. But good surprise :-)
  • People loved the openSUSE Geekos we gave away! We need more of that!

GNOME Policy on Copyright Assignment

I guess a few people remember that Clutter was proposed for inclusion one year ago. Most of the GNOME community loves it, so there was no real question about accepting it. Except that it required copyright assignment, and the release team didn't really know how to handle this. So we contacted the Foundation Board to see what should be done. And the Board did two things: talk to Intel about it, and work on a more general solution.

First, we talked to Intel to understand if the copyright assignment for Clutter was really needed, or if it could be removed in the future. As this is a discussion involving some legal magic, it obviously took some time. But Emmanuele kept pushing this internally to get a resolution, and in June, it was announced that everybody could contribute to Clutter without signing anything :-) Thanks Intel! It's my guess that this happened not just thanks to GNOME, but I don't have any details on that...

Still, we wanted to have some general guidelines to know how to proceed in case this happens again in the future. The Board discussed this topic with the Advisory Board in December, and after the discussion, we felt that Bradley and Michael had a position that reflected best what would be the position of the community. So we asked them to work on the topic. They wrote some blog entries about the topic, and drafted a first document providing a policy for copyright assignments in GNOME. This got discussed again with the Advisory Board, and finetuned. The whole process took quite some time — and Bradley talked about it during a lightning talk at GUADEC.

As a result, we got two documents that were published in July on the wiki, but I actually only really announced them now. You can read the policy and the additional document, but here's the short version for the lazy ones (quoting my mail):

The inclusion of a new module in GNOME that requires copyright assignment has to be explicitly approved on a case-by-case basis by both the Release Team and the GNOME Foundation Board. The decision will be made based on criteria explained in the policy as well as in this additional document.

It was a great experience to work with Bradley and Michael on this, especially as I was doing nothing and they did all the hard work :-) So I'm glad this is finally out, and even though I personally hope we won't have to look at copyright assignments in the future, at least, now, we will know what to do if the original issue occurs again.

by Vincent