Back from the GNOME Summit

In my previous blog post, where I was providing an update on the 2016 GNOME Summit I was organizing in Montréal, I wrote,

With a change of attendees comes a change of the nature of the event: instead of being an extremely technical, “deep end of the pool” event as it has been in the past, this edition will be focused on newcomers and potential contributors, with presentations and workshops targetted for this purpose.

In practice, it turned out to be a great event. It was halfway between the traditional highly technical gathering and the “event aimed at new contributors”, with 13 attendees including myself.


After welcoming participants and opening the event with a rough action plan, I gave a short presentation to set the stage and provide an overview of what GNOME is (a collection of software, a community, and the GNOME Foundation). The point was to have an icebreaker talk that would ensure all participants are on the same level of understanding as to who they were dealing with. This eventually morphed into a joint talk with Hubert that looked more like a Saturday Night Live show with two hosts sitting in fancy chairs in front of the audience (wish I had pictures of the two of us taken from the outside to illustrate the “TV show” feel).

My co-animator

We gradually got people to open up and get involved by probing participants with questions. After all, the chief goal is to motivate people into contributing to the GNOME, showing them the various ways they can get involved, how the GNOME Project’s release cycle works (and where the timing of their contributions comes in) and what technologies are involved. We sang the praise of Flatpak and GNOME Builder (even though he uses Emacs and I use Gedit ;)

Our introductory discussion was then followed by a presentation by Guillaume Poirier-Morency on Vala, Meson, pollcore and Valum.

Guillaume presenting

David Mirza Ahmad also presented Subgraph OS, the problem it aims to solve and how GNOME fits into the picture. Their distro runs a hardened GNOME3 and it’s quite relevant to our interests. One could have a fun week-end in Manchester with these folks!

David talking about Subgraph, security, and GNOME

It seems the Subgraph talk captured attendees’ interest and ended up morphing into a security discussion that took the rest of the afternoon.

While I initially thought we wouldn’t have enough content to fill more than a day, we ended up not having time to do newcomers workshops (short & sweet, as I would say). There was a shared interest among participants to try creating a GNOME community in Montréal to have such meetings more often. So, for starters, I have now created the #gnome-montreal IRC channel on Get your butt over there if you’re in the area.

I would like to thank ÉTS and ML2 for providing us with a nice meeting space for the event, and the Subgraph folks for sponsoring dinner on Saturday night (a very nice touch), where lively debates were facilitated by beer and food.


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