Miguel: I don’t have the exact number offhand, but the foundation spent about forty thousand euro this year on bringing people to GUADEC, which is both the most money and the highest percentage of the budget we’ve ever spent on travel subsidies. It helped people from as far afield as Mongolia.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t consider moving GUADEC out of E (we should at minimum consider doing major latin american and asian events with large contigents of high-profile hackers), but just that we’re doing better than ever on getting people from all over the world to GUADEC right now, thanks to our excellent sponsors and good work by the organizing team. So the problem is not quite as dire as it seems offhand.
The excellent Ezter Hargittai has blogged about her research into what college students do online. The interesting numbers are on pages 17-25 of her slide deck, but the relevant numbers in a nutshell: less than 2% use flickr, less than 1% use delicious, 50% use myspace, and nearly 80% use facebook. Enabling people to talk to each other is the real killer app- a big part of why we’re using writely a ton at work right now.
The interesting question is not ‘who is the next microsoft’ but ‘who is the next Windows-like developer platform’. Netscape wanted to be it; Second Life wants to be, and MySpace is headed in that direction. I realize everyone else knew this already, it just finally became clear to me today and I wanted to write it down. :) [update: see the excellent How To Make Platform War for some better thoughts on this.]
Apparently Prashanth (GNOME Summer Of Code hacker) has succeeded in integrating jhbuild, ldtp, and dogtail. I’ll not have a chance to use this myself, but I hope others start testing it ASAP and reporting issues to Prashanth- once he has ironed out the (inevitable) bugs, this will be a huge step forward for the free software desktop’s reliability and testing.
The EFF is looking for a staff technologist. Having just wrapped up (or about to wrap up, wednesday) a term in a very similar position at the Berkman, I whole-heartedly endorse looking into this position for anyone in the SF area or willing to relocate. I’ve had a blast, and I’m sure anyone at EFF would too.