Music to the ears – about GNOME Asia 2014 and an idea for the next one

Zoë, our new born. The inconspicuous man behind her is Zhang Weiwu

Zoë, our new born. The inconspicuous man behind her is ZHANG Weiwu

While I was busy nursing my one-month old daughter Zoë, my husband ZHANG Weiwu showed up in Gnome Asia 2014 and talked about usable design – he is perhaps happy to get noticed once or twice:)

The following is his guest writing, since he does not have a blog of his own:

Lenka Kripac for this Gnome Asia

GNOME Asia 2014 is again phenomenal: women leadership (was there, now better), a gender-balanced audience, warm local media coverage, diverse topics, and live golden fish under the smoking area’s floor – of which I should have taken an photo;)

If you didn’t present, you should watch this music-video mini-documentary and get thrilled – probably one of the best ever produced about opensource conferences:

You would certainly notice the great choice of music. The key frames are matched to the beats, a creative use of Mickey Mousing technique.

The music and lyrics stirs up passion about excitement to grow, about change, diversity and youth, which fits GNOME quite well. Unsurprisingly, this happen to be exactly the message Microsoft marketing guys prepared for public reception of Windows 8 too. It was chosen and licenced for the theme music of an official Windows 8 TV Ad. In fact, the music made a global name thanks to its wide used in Windows 8 Ads, and a rapt audience associates the two. You would hear people talking about this piece as “Windows 8 music”, forgoing its original title “Everything at Once”:

The music was written and produced by Australian singer Lenka, whose debute piece “The Show”, with a distinct personal touch, compares the world to a stage. My favourate.

Where the music fades, the debates go on. But not much about Windows 8, instead, it is about copyright. The use of this music is unlicenced.

In modern days China, copyright is so neglected, that if you try to licence that song for this conference, you walk into the copyright owner’s branch office and they would not believe what they heard. A dilemma between doing the stupid thing of actually go and licencing it, and, doing the wrong thing of going without licencing.

But I am not to join the debate. I am writing to offer a new idea.

Woody Guthrie for the next show

Since we will have to use a different piece of music for the next Gnome Asia. There is one that just fits.

It’s Woody Guthrie’s “Howdi Do”. I have not counted, but there should be at least twenty times “Howdi Do”, “How do you do”, “Howdy” in the song. The music is a warm picture of people shaking hands, greeting each other.

This is how we are going to do it:

GNOME had been presented by a robot before:


We arange someone to play the role of our cameo robot, and ask every guest to shake hands with it – and video it:

Robot shaking hands with people. We don’t have to use a real robot – you know, it’s cheaper to let human does the robot’s work.

Then we match the hand-shaking to the lyrics: “Howdi Do”, “How do you do”,”Howdi”. We could do the Mickey Mousing again.

Why Woody? Because his music is quite old, a lot of them produced as early as 1930, under which time copyright has to be declared to be valid.

But also, I chose Woody because he made a strong stance against copyright. On the typescript submitted for copyright of “This Land Is Your Land”, Guthrie wrote:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”
– source:

I jumped out of my chair cheering him when I first learned this. An opensource pioneer in 1945? A free spirit he is.

I hope our next show attracts so much attention that someone coming to us claiming copyright, then we could make a good piece of news about it. EFF did act once to defend a Woody song against copyright claims.

Great to meet you in GNOME.Asia 2013 in Seoul

I might be the latest one to write report after attend the GNOME.Asia, but that does not mean I do not taken it sincerely. To attend GNOME.Asia always give me opportunity to meet many GNOMERS and participants and have a very wonderful experience. My buckets are full of spiritual rewards. Some by the generous spirite of sharing from others, some learned, some my humble creation.

I’d like especially to thank Eric Sun, Which I missed his topic “The soul’s code of Taiwan campus” in the conference, and he gladly showed his presentation with me alone after his speech:) I like Eric Sun’s creativity design for the Ezgo, and like his passion in Ezgo.

I also want to thank Max and Karen, Max always encouraging me on my speech. Karen, she actually came to listened my speech “Web design done in GNOME and how I did my last GOPW”, despite my poor delivery:) I also enjoyed the talk with her.

In my speech “Web design done in GNOME” I started with my own story to show how I getting in touched with Opensource, and introduced my paraphernalia of my web design work: GIMP, Inkscape, jEdit, fileZilla.

Also, I was glad to see my design elements in GOPW have been used in GNOME.Asia 🙂

BTW: I found, especially in Adacamp, women geeks tends dress alike. A typical ensemble include a T-shirt, jean, sports shoes, a pair of glasses. That is, they dress like male geeks. This time, I thought since my naive existence is an unavoidable reduction to the entropy of geeky heat, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, so I dressed a red dress with flowery ribbon, my usual ensemble. It isn’t exaggerated dressing at all, nevertheless sparked curiosity. Some tried to verify that I am not a programmer, and succeeded;) perhaps before getting his wager. Should I bash the bias of perceiving women geeks, mostly also feminists, as unfeminine, or did it backfire, having myself tagged as a naive non-programmer? In other words, should I fight by dressing like not fighting at all? [Yes, my husband tightened this paragraph for me. It had been much longer.]

Thanks GNOME Foundation sponsored me to attend the GNOME.Asia in Seoul, thanks the Taiwan and local organizers who have held such a great event for us.

Sharing the topic “Women participation in open source community” in GNOME.Asia HongKong

Free and opensource software community traditionally have less women participation. It seems the gender difference became an issue, a barrier, instead of an opportunity. I further think, we need to recognize these differences in order to take advantage of them.
Do we recognize these differences? I have heard some topics or discussions that usually focus on “women also can do…”. It’s good that people recognize women actually can do them, but that gives male audience a false confidence of knowing women interpreter their challenge the same way as men, or are motivated the same way.
I decide to try to demonstrate this with a carefully designed dialogue, the subtle difference on women perceive, part-take and motivated in FOSS setting. The way I did it in GNOME Asia HK, sparked attention and recognition more than I expected, so here is it to share:

what do I love GNOME?
Dialogue 1: between Bob (male) and Carol:

Carol: GNOME? What’s that?
Bob: It’s a desktop environment. It does what Windows does, but once you get used to it you don’t want to use Windows, it beats the crap out of Windows.
Carol: What’s so special about it?
Bob: You can do all sorts of things. It’s a Linux system, so basically you can do everything with it, you have total control! For example you can use a piece of Javascript to automate the editing process, or to customize how it looks.
Carol: I can customize a lot of things in Windows too.
Bob: But limited, very limited. Even worse, the limitation is because Microsoft want to lock you into using only their products. Basically they are taking away your FREEDOM! On the contrary, GNOME is shared, you know, if you have a cool idea, you make something happen, others can use it as soon as it’s ready, it become part of the system, in fact it’s how it growed! If you have a good idea in Windows, they don’t share everything, they don’t buy your improvements.
Carol: Cool, sounds like of the people for the people style.
Bob: It sure is.

What do I love GNOME?
Let’s look at the keywords here:

as in “it beats the crap out of Windows”. Enjoying winning, leadership, and is proud of the advantage of his solution.
Total Control
Being able to control is a reason behind the recent quick advance of FOSS.
Being independent of software vendors, allowing you to modify and improve GNOME, is a big reason Bob loves GNOME.
And, with the dialogue, a visual image of what Bob is thinking:

Dialogue 2: between Alice (female) and coral:

Carol: GNOME? What’s that?
Alice: It’s a system. Do you know Android? Windows? They are systems too. Gnome is also a system, but different.
Carol: What’s so special about it?
Alice: It is built by a community. I mean, Android is made by a big company, so is Windows. GNOME is a bunch of people working on things mostly because they just love it. I actually know these people, nice people.
Carol: Oh. Good. So, what can I do with GNOME?
Alice: Pretty much everything. Watch movie, taking notes, edit photo and so like. I use it myself.
Carol: Can I look at it?
Alice: Sure.
Carol: It sure look much better than Windows.


There is an exploring spirit in Alice. That’s behind the popularity of pinterest, a website focused on women group.
Nice people
An social experience attracts women. Alice likes to work with a group of nice people.
Being visually pleasing is to embrace perfection, this is what Microsoft fail to do for all these years. They managed to maintain constant ugly look.
Again, to match the dialogue, a visual image of what Bob is thinking:

What can we learn from this?

For the boys:
To attract women to the community, we need to present GNOME lively, with video, real-life touch-and-feel. Get them on-board first, the flow-chat and code snippets can follow later.
You don’t have to be the world-beating software solution, to have nice people relationship is more important for women participation.
Keep aware not all of them are contributing code. Also keep aware women’s sociable nature might itself be a good advantage to community.

For the girls:
To recognize the nice folks here in the community is striving for the freedom of software users, and appreciate that. It gives a solid start for a good relationship. That is, no matter how many iPads are being sold a day, and double that number, these people won’t stop for their ideals. It’s actually an effort to make the world better.
As long as you recognize the above point and willing to share your energy, your work, there isn’t a technical barrier. It’s not needed to be ashamed of not knowing a lot technical details. Out of the competitive nature of boys, they don’t help those who don’t attempt to help themselves, so as long as you showed you tried something (usually that you googled), it should always be easy to get help.

GNOME community people generally knows they are competing with e.g. Microsoft Windows, targeting the users, not for geeks only. So, if a way to solve a problem is too complicated, ask if there is a method for users: there often are, only geeks are accustomed to say the geeky solution first, for that is more speedy. For example, if using ssh command to download a file look obscure, there is actually an intuitive option near “My Computer” that can do it too.

Hello GNOME robot, hello GOPW

It has been a while since my last work in GOPW. Last month I was involved in the OPW application process design with three of active OPW inters (they are: Christy, Meg, Tamara). I really have a lot of fun in our cooperation! I also very excited that I continue to use some elements of my last GNOME Version Identity design.

I made a little change in this version compared to the last version I sent to Marina, just want it show up in a different way:)

SFD organized by BJGUG in Beijing

It’s been one month past while the SFD event hold in Beijing. I was recommended by BJGUG to have a speech to introduce GNOME and OPW in this event at Beijing Jiaotong University. Although most of the audience are boys, but it did not blocked me to spread OPW and share my owner exciting experience. I mostly encourage everyone to participate in community activities, being a member as a contributer of GNOME and other freedom software.

Here is the presentation I prepared in this event:

My internship is reaching an end soon but not my use and contribution to GNOME

My internship is reaching an end soon but not my use and contribution to GNOME. Most of my work went to the GNOME visual identity design. I really hope they can be used in the future, and through more uses and continuous improvement it may be mature.

I uploaded the GNOME Visual Identity svg source here, it include 46 pages / layers in one file.

And here is the presentation templates with 1024*768px can be directly used.

Since I still do not export pdf format correctly because I made a lot of mask set in the graphic. My mentor Andreas suggested: “Masks are a bit of a issue with pdf’s in general, and if you use them for masking things out, I would suggest using path > difference on the shapes instead.” But I didn’t figure out it yet.

I really have enjoyed this internship with GNOME community, and thanks to all of your support and comments, hope we can stay in touch.

A pure and beautiful Gannan grassland

I spent a few nice days on the northwest Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China- a pure and beautiful Gannan grassland.

In there, the cute little yak are anxiously looking for his mother because of the too big meadow; the stream flowing is cold enough to let the local Tibetans to cool beer; the long sweep of green hills always let people full in daydreams; the handsome horses walks slowly in tiny steps.

Also, in field the wheat with golden yellow in all way; terraced fields are like colorful patches of the earth; and the small flowers do spot the green land…

(We meant to go to Berlin to attend Desktop Summit with a short holiday in Europe, but our visa was unexpectedly refused in the last minute, so we turned to the Gannan grassland instead. 🙂

GNOME Foundation webpage design

I was asked to integrate The GNOME Foundation website into, so I drafted some mockup based on layout, and I also tried to made the mockup in my WordPress testbed.

here is a mockup ( I like the head banner better than others.)
         (after these comments below, I drafted this new banner with bubbles)

BTW: I have a problem with my WordPress testbed now. As you can see I leaved the  page right side  in blank in my testbed, because I don’t know how to insert the two boxes in my testbed page, which I want to do is exactly same as in the front page of

I wonder if some one can help me with this issue? Thanks!