July 25, 2014

Alexandre Franke on GUADEC and Strasbourg

Every edition of GUADEC is organized by passionate contributors who work hard to welcome the GNOME community to their home town or country. They are part of what we call the Local Organizing Team, and they make sure GUADEC has a place and the structure needed to happen.

afranke_pontscouvertsThis year’s GUADEC is being organized by a team led by Alexandre Franke, who lives in Strasbourg. Alexandre is a GNOME Foundation member since 2010, and also a very active member of the GNOME community in France. He’s currently the coordinator of our French Translations Team, and the treasurer of the GNOME-FR group.

Alexandre has been leading the organization since 2012, when the bid for Strasbourg was accepted by the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors. With GUADEC starting tomorrow, we took the chance to talk to him about the experience of organizing the conference in his hometown:

Why makes Strasbourg a great place for GUADEC?

Strasbourg is very active in the Free Software world, but GNOME is not very well represented here. By making the GNOME community come to Strasbourg, we have the opportunity to reach out to the local community and raise awareness of the project.

I also hope the institutional role of the city will inspire our attendees. With the European Court of Human Rights just around the corner, we’re dealing with Freedom on a different level than just software.

What is the the most exciting part of organizing GUADEC?

I was born and raised in Strasbourg and have been living in the area for 30 years. I’m a bit biased, but I think Strasbourg is the most beautiful city in the world. I’m really excited to have the GNOME community in my hometown, and to have these wonderful people discover it.

What is the most challenging part of organizing GUADEC?

We had a bad surprise five weeks before the event, when we learned we couldn’t have the venue we planned to have since 2012. It was a crisis that led to many sleepless nights, and a huge relief when Epitech told me they’d be happy to provide the venue for the event.

What is your favorite place in Strasbourg? Which places should we check out?

There are several museums in Strasbourg, all worth visiting. My favorite one is the Museum of Modern Art. I like to go there and sit for a while in front of the 54m² painting by Gustave Doré, “Le Christ quittant le prétoire“. Once I’m done visiting, I usually go to the café on the roof, where I can enjoy the most beautiful view of Strasbourg. And while you’re there, you can go for a walk in la Petite France!

You can also add those to your checklist:

  • Place de la République, in the Neustadt, built by the German Empire
  • The zoo at the Parc de l’Orangerie is the best spot to see the storks.
  • And, of course, the Cathedral.

afranke_museumofmodernart

Thanks for the tips, Alexandre! And, most of all, thanks so much for having the GNOME community in Strasbourg!