August 1, 2013

GUADEC 2013, Day 1

GUADEC 2013, GNOME’s annual European Conference, kicked off today in a warm and sunny Brno (Czech Republic). This is the main GNOME event of the year, and there are hundreds of contributors here for 8 days of talks and working events.

Everyone arrived early for the conference opening by Karen Sandler. The venue for this year’s conference is the Faculty of Information Technology at the Brno University of Technology. It’s a lovely modern setting, integrated into a beautiful old courtyard. Lovely place to be on a sunny day. The rubber ducks floating in the fountain were a big hit.

We also got started to a great piece of news, with Karen announcing that the Linux Foundation has joined the GNOME Advisory Board. Read more details on the news post.

After that, we were off with a day of presentations. First up there was our first keynote, by Ethan Lee, who works on porting indie games to Linux. He spoke about the challenges of porting games to Linux, and how we can help by providing better tools and community support.

Then the presentation tracks got started. We have two tracks this year, with 12 presentations by GNOME contributors on each day.

Allan Day talked about the Future of GNOME 3, while in the other room Colin Walters gave a report no the progress of the OSTree project. Allan spoke about the values and aspirations behind the GNOME project, and its mission to provide software freedom for as many people as possilbe. Then he went on to talk about the progress that has been made on improving the GNOME 3 user experience, as well as next steps that are required to make things even better. In the other room, Colin Walters described how the OSTree project is improving the quality of GNOME software. This initiative means that code commits are booted and tested in a virtual machines just minutes after they have been made. He hopes to get this time delay down to mere seconds in the near future.
Next up, Ekaterina Gerasimova and Sindhu Sundar gave an inspiring talk on getting started in GNOME. We also had an update on the status of the GNOME Web browser by Claudio Saavedra.

After that it was time for lunch, where many of us got a proper Czech meal: goulash and dumplings.

The afternoon included a diverse range of talks. Fabiana Simões spoke about to (and how to not) report usability and user experience bugs. Another talk about design was given by Jakub Steiner, who showed off the process behind his impressive animated 3D mockups.

Lennart Poettering spoke to a very hot and packed auditorium about “Sandboxed applications for GNOME”. This was one of the most popular talks of the day. Lennart spoke about the progress to date, and set out a nine point plan for what needs to happen next.

We also had a number of talks on community building and outreach. Flavia Weisghizzi talked about the challenges faced by new contributors. She argued that we need to make women contributors more visible, and that we need to offer more support and mentoring opportunities. She described the fantastic progress that GNOME has made including women in the project: 17%, compared with 5% in Ubuntu and 2.5% in Debian. Sri Ramkrishna spoke about his ongoing outreach efforts. His advice: be sincere, be patient, make complainers into doers by filing bugs and contributing to the project. Meg Ford also gave a talk about outreach, and described here work to build a GNOME group in Chicago.

At the end of the day, Alex Larsson demonstrated his new hi-resolution display support work for GNOME 3. Brian Vibber, who donated a laptop to help with this work, got a round of applause from the audience.

GUADEC 2013 has got off to a fantastic start. There is a great atmosphere here, and lots of new contributors. Expect more posts in the coming days.