A little while back I spent some time in beautiful Gran Canaria at the inaugural Gran Canaria Desktop Summit. This was the first event of its kind to bring together developers from the two major desktops, KDE and GNOME. As the event progressed I was asking how people felt the event went, whether it was useful, what worked and what didn’t. Generally the feedback was very positive but there were some areas in which people felt it could have seen some improvements and rough edges shaved off.
I think we need to ensure this discussion first emphasizes the great achievements that the organizers made. Whenever creating a new event, the first event is always going to get some things right and identify some areas of improvement, and it is tempting to dwell only on these areas on improvement. The organizers of the summit performed a wonderful job with this first incarnation of the event, and just getting all those KDE and GNOME folks in the same town was a great achievement in itself. I want to issue my thanks to everyone involved: I felt like it was really useful and a whole lot of fun, to boot.
I have have two primary recommendations to make to the organizers:
- Firstly, I heard a lot of feedback from people saying that they enjoyed the presentations but would have liked to have had more time in discussion sessions about specific technologies. As such I would recommend that for next year, Monday to Wednesday is a traditional GUADEC/aKademy like summit in which each project has these discussions, and preferably lots of cross-desktop discussions too. These three days would also be great opportunities for hack-fests. Then on the Thursday and Friday there would be two days of presentations, similar to what we had this year at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit. This combination of summit time and presentation time would ensure each project gets their own face time, time to show of their work and share best practise later in the week, and the evening events throughout the week should encourage cross-desktop mingling and getting-to-know-each-other time.
- Secondly, instead of having the GUADEC and aKademy tracks as there were this year, let’s have general tracks with mixed KDE, GNOME and other desktop sessions. As an example, it would be awesome to have a Multimedia track which could have presentations on GStreamer, Phonon, PiTiVi, AmaroK etc.
All in all I thought the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit was a stonking event, and I hope some of this feedback is useful.