Notes from the Gnome Summit in Boston

Photos from the Gnome Summit in Boston

I drove down to Boston this weekend for the Gnome Summit. I have posted my photos from the trip and collected some rough notes on the experience:

  • The who/what/where/when/why/how of marketing open source software to normal humans (non-developers) is uncharted territory. I’m skeptical that we should worry ourselves much about marketing at all.
  • It takes about 10 hours to drive from Charlottetown to Boston
  • Americans like to express their partisan politics with bumper stickers. Some stickers noted on the I-95: “Veterans for Bush”, “Veterans for Kerry”, “Veterans Against Bush”. There was no “Veterans Against Kerry” – but I guess Massachusetts is a blue state.
  • The Stata building at MIT (photos) is fascinating, compelling, and beautiful. However, it strikes me as architectural masturbation.
  • MIT has really nice projectors in the class rooms
  • Harvard is bustling with culture and diversity. MIT is eerily sterile.
  • The Gnome Summit was held in the William H. Gates building. I was please that this was not the subject of as much mocking as I had feared.
  • Where my hos at, biatch? (translations: “Open source software is suffering from a significant gender bias that will hinder the long term prospects of the movement. Biatch.”)
  • Geeks can be really set in their ways. I met people who still think the classic Mozilla browser is “more usable” than Firefox because it has more options and someone (you know who you are) that thinks Gaim sucks (it doesn’t). The hard-core geeks were in the minority now. There is a growing respect for artists, usability-dudes, and general well-roudnedness.
  • I met my first AIBO.
  • My father drove down with me to visit some friends and relative in Boston. It was fun and strange to travel with my father as two adults. He said it was the first time in his life he’s been on a trip and one of his children has paid for the gas.
  • People were nice to me.
 

6 thoughts on “Notes from the Gnome Summit in Boston

  1. Where I work (all of the developers here run debian or osx or both) I run into gaim sucks. Mostly because it’s jabber support is suspect. I don’t begrudge it for that, though. I think it’s a fine IM.

    The pictures look fantastic. I’m interested to know what kind of discussions emerged during the con? Or was it mostly hackfests?

  2. 10 hours to get to Boston from Charlottetown? Were you driving excessively fast or do you know secret super-fast routes? It took me 13 hours to do the same trip.

  3. I agree with your assessment that “Open source software is suffering from a significant gender bias that will hinder the long term prospects of the movement.” However, I’m not sure if expressing this with the colourful phrase “Where my hos at, biatch?” is really helping matters.

    I think the gender bias applies to weblogging and software development in general, and extends beyond gender bias towards an overall lack of inclusivity. Most of the “weblog intelligentsia” seem to be white guys between 18-50, and they seem to talk about everything *except* the lack of diversity among the weblogging community. Full Disclosure: I am a white guy between 18-50.

  4. Where my hos at, biatch? (translations: “Open source software is suffering from a significant gender bias that will hinder the long term prospects of the movement. Biatch.”)

    Quotes like the above aren’t going to help. Even in jest. I encourage you to consider this.

  5. Okay, so you answered the Stata question. That’s certainly an interesting analysis. šŸ˜‰

    However, I disagree with the “MIT is eerily sterile” part. From the point of view of a person attending a conference (traveling through halls, not generally interacting with students, etc.) here it may be true, but within the classes (particularly the more collaborative ones), dorms, living areas other than dorms, and study areas it’s much different. Also, the view in between classes is probably not the best, because most people are either in transit between classes, in the middle of tooling on homework problems, or in the middle of catching a nap. Once classes are done, the people are much more social, even while working together on homework. Certainly if you’d been here during freshman orientation you’d have seen a different (and, for the most part, more accurate) snapshot of the Institvte.

  6. As your father, I was also impressed with the fact that u not only paid for the gas but the road tolls too……..
    it was a fun trip with the exception of the rain wind and hurricane we hit for five hours on the way home
    peace

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