GUADEC + Akademy in Gran Canaria…thanks

Thanks for choosing Gran Canaria to host GUADEC + Akademy 2009. You have made us really happy.

We have a lot of work to do now. Since it is the first time both events takes place at the same time and place, we will face many issues for the very first time. It is going to be tough sometimes but we have the determination for solving them with the help from both, GNOME and KDE, staffs. All I can say is that we will try to integrate efforts and people following the spirit that have made possible this adventure (GUADEC+KDE). It is an example that should guide us during the following year.

I want to make a call to every KDE and GNOME community member for thinking about how can we use this conference to spread free software in Africa and to support african developers. Maybe it is not a major goal for most of us, but a little effort can have a huge impact in the area close to the Canary Islands, and even in other African countries. The Canaries are a piece of Europe in Africa. We have a chance to do something special, not just for ourselves and our communities, but for those countries who have in their people, its first and only valuable resource. Free software change things everywhere, but specially in those places.

Once again, thank you.

GUADEC + Akademy in Gran Canaria…why?

Why do we think GUADEC + Akademy 2009 should come to Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain? Well, here you have some ideas.

We have a compromise from the Gran Canaria island Gov and the Gran Canaria’s college for spending a total of 250 thousand euros in this event. We will spend all the sponsorship we can get in other stuff because many of the things we offer will be already paid. Please visit this page to see the budget. It is well determined which concepts will be paid by the local organization: http://grancanariadesktopmeeting.eslic.es/index.php/Budget

But if money is not important for you, maybe the time you spend travelling is. There are a lot of companies that flies to Gran Canaria directly. When you get to Gran Canaria’s airport, there is a bus that takes you to Las Palmas every 30 minutes. The trip takes 20 – 25 minutes and it leaves you at 10 – 15 minutes walking to any of the hotels we included in the wiki. All of them are close to the beach. So getting from the airport to any of the hotels is fast, cheap and easy: http://grancanariadesktopmeeting.eslic.es/index.php/Logistics

The Auditorium is in the city, not uotside of it, so there are plenty of places to go to eat or having a beer. That is really cool for going out at night so you don’t need to pick up a car. If you prefer staying at the hotel hacking at night, the local organization will pay a room for hacking in two different hotels so everybody can choose what to do. There will be internet connection in those rooms, of course.

We have planned the visit to two different places of Gran Canaria for 1000 people, 500 hundred to each place. Enough buses will be rented with a guide that speaks english. Both visits are really cool so you all will have fun. We will also have tipycal Canarian food during the trip: http://grancanariadesktopmeeting.eslic.es/index.php/Official_planning#Sightseeing_and_touristic_visit

In order to ensure that the event will be more publicited than ever, the local organization will invite journalists from general international press and media (5 people). We want to make sure that the event has impact not just in technical media but in more general ones. We also will invite 5 representatives from oocidental african countries related with technology so they can get in touch with the free software community and begin to promote it in those countries. Our islands have a great relations in the area so this event can be used as a plattform to spread technology and free software among those countries: http://grancanariadesktopmeeting.eslic.es/index.php/Impact_and_publicity

Initially we have offered to celebrate the event from July 3 to July 11, but we can delay the event a week if it is neccesary. Gran Canaria is not too hot at that time since we have a subtropical weather so it is never too hot or too cold, but most of the year is sunny. That’s why we are one of the most important touristic places in the world. In addition to that, we have a mature free software community. Both Canary Islands colleges have a Free Software Office that are part of the local staff, one of the oldest LUGs in Spain and the first spanish regional free software companies association are also a key part of it.

There is a lot of job behind this offer. We have been working for monthes to define every detail yo can see on proposal. Please, get into it and take time to read before voting. Even if you do not support us, you’ll find out good ideas and interesting things you can suggest to other candidates now or in the future.

This is not a just a matter of where you want to go, is a matter of where would be better for both projects to celebrate the event.

I want to thank all the people that has collaborated with us in this project and also the people that supports us. This is beeing a great experience so far.

What is not on Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting’s wiki

I haven’t read the rest of the proposals yet. I prefer not to talk about our project in relation with the other two. I know the effort made by the other teams to make a proposal, it is enormous. All my respect for them. I want to make this clear first.

After attending to some big free software events, one of the major issues we (Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting team) have noticed is that most of them were organiced by people that are not professionals of these kind of thing. I’ve been in that situation also and the effort made is always huge. Tha software libre community have gone from local meetings some years ago to Akademy + GUADEC, with hundreds of visitors expected. This is a reflection of what softwre libre is going through.

This jump needs new methods applied to the major events. This is exactly what we wanted to offer. The guys that vote will say if we have accomplish it or somebody else have done it better.

The proposal is presented by the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, which is Gran Canaria’s local Gov. It is not presented by the LUG (GULIC), the Canary Islands software libre companies association (ESLIC) nor any of the two Canary Islands Colleges (ULL and ULPGC). They are behind the Cabildo. This is a key point because it means we can count with people with a lot of experience in organicing even bigger events than ours. This is so true that the Cabildo has an organism, the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, just for that. They have helped us a lot, not just giving us advice but also contacting people, hotels, asking for budgets, etc. They organice a major event per month.

Of course those organizations mentioned have actively participated in the proposal (and before that, the idea) and will be the heart and soul of the event, but we are only going to take care of those activities tlike the ones that needs technical skills or are directly related with the schedule. Since we are talking about two different events with some common activities, the complexity will be high. So not just many people is needed but also good coordination. This means more time spent by each of the local team members.

We are going to let the professionals take care of those kind of activities that are common to any big international event. This will allow the local team to focus energy in that extra job and also in stuff that haven’t been done before and can make Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting the first of a new era of software libre inter community events.

For example, we describe in our proposal a variety of courses and other activities that need a lot of time to be made, but that can help a lot to increase the relations between GNOME and KDE people and, also, get new young local developers into both projects. They are affordable because we don’t have to take care of the visit planned to the south and north of the island, for exmple. Professionals will be in charge of that. Moving 1000 people is really tough if you haven’t done it before.

Following this line, we decided to celebrate the event (make the offer) in a place well prepared for big congresses: the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium and the Congress Palace next to it. Both are a first class infrastructure with, of course, a high cost, but it is worth it. The people that works there really know what has to be done to celebrate something like what we want to do. They will take care of the lights, the sound, the projectors, the security, the electricity and, with the collaboration of ESLIC, the internet connection.

Tha Cabildo can involve a travel agency, for example, to help organice the trip to Gran Canaria or nice activities for those who want to take a day off or bring your parents with you :), rent a car, etc.

Another thing that really make a difference is the place to stay the night. In a 20 min. walk from the Auditorium, there are more than 20 hotels that goes from 150 € to 20 € per night (regular prices). More than 20… that’s a lot for a 350 thousand people city (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). The Gran Canaria Convention Bureau has helped us to select some. I’ve been in some of them before and I’m sure nobody will complain about this issue if we are selected.

Many people think the Canary Islands are too far away. We are a little piece of Europe in Africa. But if you take a look at how many direct flights you can find to go there and the prices you can get, you will find out that we are much closer than you thought.

We recieve 10 million tourists per year by plane (that is like Brazil). There are 6 international airports in the Canary Islands. The biggest one is Gando, in Gran Canaria, so it has to be easy and cheap to come. For example, it is chaeper to fly from Frankfurt to Gran Canaria than do it from Sevilla to Zaragoza (two big spanish cities). And it is faster if, from Sevilla, you have to go first to Madrid to get to Zaragoza. This happens in every country when flying by plane. You can spent more time in a non direct short trip than in a long but direct one. For those who come from other continents, you can connect to Gran Canaria directly from London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Lisboa, and other european capitals. Distance is a relative concept after all.

For further information, please read the wiki and ask what you want, make suggestions or …whatever you want:

http://grancaanriadesktopmeeting.eslic.es

Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting: GUADEC+Akademy 2009 has been presented

The Hon. Cabildo de Gran Canaria, through its Secretary of Tourism, Foreign Trade and Technological innovation, under the leadership of its chairman D. Roberto Moreno Diaz, introduces The Canary Islands Generally speaking, and the island of Gran Canaria in particular as a candidate for the seat to hold GUADEC and Akademy 2009. An overview of the project, called Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting, which develops our proposal, is presented in this wiki.

The event will be held at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium and the Palacio de Congresos de Canarias, next to the former. Hotels in various categories are available aroud the area, since it is located in the Playa de Las Canteras, at the island’s capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In this Auditorium zone there are various bars, restaurants and leisure areas.

In addition to two government programmes, and in order to promote free software between the Canary Islands society, especially among young people, proposes a program of additional activities. To develop courses, workshops and other advocacy of free software.

This candidacy has the support of all actors of the Canary archipelago within the free software world. The Cabildo de Gran Canaria expresses its outright support for innovation in software as well as its commitment to free software. In addition, the nomination has support from major associations and National bodies, which gives a clear picture of the creditworthiness of the bid.

The Secretary of Tourism, Trade and Technological Innovation has to its credit events of great importance over the past few years. To do so, it has the support of the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau, specialized in this type of activity. This will provide the necessary professionalism in organizing an event of this nature.

Gran Canaria Desktop Meeting: http://grancanariadesktopmeeting.eslic.es