August 8, 2013

GUADEC 2013, Day 4

The final core day of GUADEC began with a keynote by Cathy Malmrose. Cathy is CEO of ZaReason, which sells computers pre-installed with Linux. She talked about the goals of ZaReason: to provide beautiful, high-end computers that can be freely used. ZaReason machines are used by FedEx, NASA’s jet propulsion labs and Stanford’s AI Lab, among many others, and uses local shops for assembly and support.

Cathy spoke passionately about the affinity between ZaReason and GNOME, and her desire for a closer working relationship. She said: “To thrive F/LOSS must be part of the hardware chain. Hardware & software must work together.” For her, GNOME has all the pieces and has produced an incredibly valuable codebase that she wants to support.

Then it was time for talks. Juan Pablo Ugarte presented CSS support in the Glade interface designer. There were cheers when he revealed that he had created his presentation slides – which included animated backgrounds – purely using Glade, which even let him export to PDF. Alejandro Piñeiro Iglesias and Joanmarie Diggs also spoke about their work on PDF tagging, which improves formatting and accessibility.

Stef Walter’s “More secure with less ‘security’” provoked an extremely positive reaction. He talked about plans to improve the security of GNOME software while also enhancing the user experience. As Stef talked, the auditorium Twitter wall filled up with comments like “A sudden outbreak of common sense!” and “Stef talks gold”. At the same time, Anish Patil and Mike Fabian gave a talk on their recent predictive input methods, which allows an input method to automatically complete words as the user types. They described how necessary it is to have effective features like this for parts of the world like indea, where there are more than 25 languages.

After lunch, Martin Robinson gave a talk on the work done to integratie WebKit2 into GNOME for version 3.8. This was a major undertaking, and brought new features and enhancements to the platform. Martin and Carlos discussed some of these, and gave advice to application authors on how to best take advantage of them. In the other room, Marta Maria Casetti presented her work to produce guides and tutorials for new programmers working with GNOME technologies. Giving his second talk of the conference, Jeff Fortin presented the latest development work on PiTiVi, a GNOME video editor application.

The end of the day – and the final session of the core days – was interns’ lightning talks. A large audience gathered to hear about the many projects that have been undertaken by interns on the Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code. A huge number of topics were covered, including dual screen presentation mode in Evince, a new GNOME avatar picker dialog, work on geolocation support, PitiVi, GCompris, redesigned Date & Time settings, a new Maps application, focus and caret tracking in the screen magnifier feature, a new sound recorder application, a major upgrade to Cantarell (the GNOME font), porting color management to Wayland, folder encryption support in Nautilus, search and selections in the new Music application and an F-Spot faces tool. There was a round of applause when we heard that one of the interns has taken over maintainership of the GNOME Dictionary. We also saw the return of Richard Schwarting’s Foxy mascot.

As the core day came to a close, the conference organizers took to the stage and were given a huge standing ovation for all their work. Many of the conference attendees then embarked on a walking tour of Brno, which gave them a chance to see some more of the city and learn its history.

Photos courtesy of Garrett LeSage.