Few days ago I attended this year’s GUADEC which held at Manchester. This was my third GUADEC and, as the previous ones, attending to the conference gave me the opportunity to talk about both technical and ethical matters, hang out with old friends (even though unfortunately some of them were missing) and meet new ones. My general feeling is that each GUADEC is always better than the previous one and I think it is due to a more tight relationship with the members of the community. GUADEC is the event that keeps my motivation up: being able to talk in real life with people sharing the same concerns and ideas about software freedom helps me to feel less alone.
The conference was very well organized. GUADEC 2017 has been hosted at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and both the venue and the on-site accommodation infrastructures are impressive. If I had to compare them with the infrastructures in my country I would be really embarrassed. Most of the approved talks were a lot interesting to me. Unfortunately some of them were given at the same time, therefore I had to choose which one to listen. Hopefully, all the talks have been recorded. I’m looking forward to see them online! The social events were amazing. The biggest event was the Saturday party to celebrate GNOME’s 20th anniversary. Another event I really liked is the Tour of Manchester, which gave me the opportunity to quickly visit the center of Manchester and to discover the Alan Turing Statue at Sackville Gardens. In the previous GUADECs I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the center of the hosting city, so I really appreciated the organized tour.
Speaking about the talks, the ones that I liked the most (and that I really encourage you to listen when they will be available online) are:
The GNOME Way, by Allan Day
In this talk Allan discussed what the principles of GNOME are. Highlighting that GNOME isn’t just about code, but it includes different principle tat make it unique, such as being an inclusive community. Thanks to this talk now I know about the GNOME Foundation Charter. An important sentence from this document is the following:
The foundation should not be exclusionary or elitist. Every GNOME contributor, however small his or her contribution, must have the opportunity to participate in determining the direction and actions of the project.
which shows how inclusive the GNOME community has been since the beginning. You can find a bloggified version of the talk here.
The Battle Over Our Technology, by Karen Sandler
This talk mainly highlights the importance of software freedom, giving some examples on how to explain to non-technical people why software freedom is essential component of a free society and why they should care about it. I really liked this talk, mainly because I often find difficult to explain what are the issues that proprietary software may bring in our every-day life. When the video will be available online I will watch it again for sure.
The History of GNOME, by Jonathan Blandford
A brief history of GNOME. It starts from the beginning of the first graphics system, it goes through each GNOME milestone and it ends showing what the current opportunities are. The reason why I’ve found this talk really nice is that it shows how GNOME improved day-by-day and lists who were the big players that were interested in GNOME (for example, I didn’t know that the accessibility stack was sponsored by Sun Microsystems). If you can’t wait for the recorded version, the slides can be find here.
I would like to thank GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me and the travel committee for their work. Without to their support I wouldn’t have been able to attend to this GUADEC!
Next GUADEC will be in Almería. I hope to be there next year!