Tuesday, June 24, 2008

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.

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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
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