GNOME at LinuxTag 2006, Wiesbaden

I got back from Wiesbaden yesterday after helping to man the GNOME stand for the first day of LinuxTag. This year it’s in Wiesbaden instead of Karlsruhe. It seems to be significantly smaller, and felt deserted on that first day, but I’m sure it will pick up later, like it always did in Karlsruhe. There’s nothing as good as LinuxTag in Germany.

IMGP0759We only had a few of the items from the GNOME Events Box due to an(other) organizational snafu, and the Foot poster didn’t arrive yet, but we still made the most of our half a booth, using Thomas Keup’s projector to throw some eye-catching GNOME logos on the wall and enticing people with Novell’s XGL videos and GPE‘s selection of embedded devices. Our friends at Ubuntu have a large stand opposite us, so I suspect that this will become an epicentere of enthusiasm when the crowd gets here.

Joerg “Josh” Kress is again taking most of the weight for the booth’s organisation. I am often amazed by his patience and dependability. He’s great at calmly introducing people to a new world, showing them how to learn more, and how to get involved with the community that makes it happen. His new book, “Linux Lernen mit Ubuntu” does this in more detail. You should all go out and buy it, so he can take you on a tour of desktop Linux. If you take your copy to LinuxTag then he’ll even autograph it for you.

Here is a photo if someone would like to make him a hackergotchi head for Planet Ubuntu:


We probably only spoke to about 15 people, compared to the usual hundreds, but it was nice to be more relaxed and to give people more time. Most people were completely new to Linux, which is similar to the last few events I’ve attended. The XGL videos are a nice opportunity to talk about how we like to take the time to make stuff really work, and to use technology where it’s useful and tasteful by default, resisting the temptation to throw in a lot of techie gimmicks that are fun at first, but would quickly become annoying. We need to get this idea of lifestyle design across in our marketing when this stuff goes mainstream. But I told them that they can try the work in progress in SUSE/Novell Linux and, with some tweaking, in the other distros in the meantime.

GNOME’s User Profiles Editor (Sabayon) is also a great demonstration for system administrators and existing users. It does so much, without forcing a whole new UI on people, because the developers were interested in the users’ goals rather than just mimicking existing tools.

I’m getting a little tired of my regular mini spiels, though they remain effective:

  • Show how much better [Save] is than [Yes] in a “Do you want to save changes?” dialog, with a “Really Discard Changes?” dialog as the punchline. This emphasizes our attention to detail, and to the user experience, so they don’t need to pay attention.
  • Showing our simple preferences and comparing them to the useless obscure options in Windows/Office applications.

Someone should write up something fun on the marketing pages.

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