While consumers and the open source community don’t interact often, users are important to projects because users test software, spread the word, motivate developers, lend credibility, contribute financially and participate in users groups. Take GNOME as an example. The main reason consumers and the community don’t interact is because most users, whether they are using a desktop, a netbook or a cell phone running GNOME Mobile technologies, get their technology from a vendor, not the GNOME community. Many consumers do not even know that they are using GNOME. They might be listening to music with Banshee, editing their photos with Gimp and managing their finances with Gnucash and have no idea that the underlying technology is GNOME. When it comes to interacting with the GNOME community, the user first has to become aware of the community. When most users encounter a problem, they end up on a GNU/Linux distribution site. Or, if they were using a Garmin 880 GPS, they call Garmin, not GNOME. Come learn why users are important to an open source project and how they can be more involved.
Stormy Peters is Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. She joins the GNOME Foundation from OpenLogic where she set up their OpenLogic Expert Community. Previously, Stormy worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) where she founded and managed the Open Source Program Office that is responsible for HP’s open source strategy, policy and business practices. Stormy joined HP as a software engineer in the Unix Development Lab after graduating from Rice University with a B.A. in Computer Science.
Stormy is a frequent keynote speaker on business aspects of Open Source Software at major conferences such as the Open Source Business Conference and the O’Reilly conferences, as well as government organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union.
Stormy is involved in GNOME and free and open source software because it is changing the world and the community is full of smart, passionate people!
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