Retour de GUADEC, conspirations4 min read

As expected, GUADEC in Strasbourg was a terrific event. Huge props to the local organizing team who managed to make things work regardless of last minute curve balls, such as the venue changing or the video recording team (and their equipment) not being able to attend due to visa restrictions. I went with Alexandre Franke to pick up recording equipment only half an hour before the opening session on the first day, and manned the cameras sporadically, but was glad that other volunteers were able to fill the gaps as I was running all over the place.
Since I am independent this year (I now have my own business, as some of you might have seen from my unusual laptop sticker), I came to GUADEC thinking I would allow myself to really relax for a change:

“This is great! Besides my daily two-hours of contract work obligation, and my Pitivi talk, and my two days of GNOME Foundation board meetings, I’m a free bird cat! I’ll be able to focus on watching talks, discuss at length with everybody, and get back to making technical contributing to Pitivi this week! \(• ◡ •)/”

grump cat nope grayscale
I had a few surprises:

  • Pinpoint decided to go on strike (hey, this is France after all!) and not display half of my images, so I had to waste ridiculous amounts of time redoing my Pitivi presentation entirely with LibreOffice Impress.
  • I was asked to do the opening session of the conference.
  • And later asked to open the Teams Reports session by presenting an overview of the Foundation’s activities for the year prior to my election.
  • And then to do the closing session as well (in which my theatrical talents were revealed by way of an outrageous accent and legendary repartee).

All on short notice. No sweat.
On the night of the event at the Snooker, I hopped into Thibault’s car (the Pitivimobile; five Pitivi hackers were in it) and we tried getting from his flat to the Snooker bar. We never made it to the Snooker. Instead, we spent 2.5 hours going through every street in Strasbourg, which is quite hilarious—thanks to Thibault and Mathieu’s wonderful sense of orientation, we had a free city tour and a very entertaining experience!
The picnic event was nice and popular. Thankfully, mosquitoes focused on Europeans and left Canoodians like me alone.
The Pitivi & GStreamer hackfest was productive, lots of stabilization/bugfixing work done by Mathieu and Thibault as part of their work enabled by the fundraiser. Lubosz worked on Windows component builds because he has a gluttony for pain.
As part of my pro-bono/FOSS-related projects at idéemarque, a few months ago I spent time rethinking the contents of the GStreamer website, as well as turning those contents into a working website for demonstration and planning purposes. During the hackfest at GUADEC, I therefore spent a few hours discussing with Tim, Sebastian and Edward about those contents, the target audience, intended structure, etc. Eventually, as time allows, we’ll get to the real implementation soonish.

Some whiteboard notes from the discussion

Unfortunately, in the half day that was left before my return trip, I couldn’t get much done on Pitivi itself asides from some light triaging and testing.
The scheduled talks were great. I was glad that there were only two tracks so that I wouldn’t miss too many of them… Except I still ended up missing most of them as I dealt with last minute issues all the time, so I’ll end up having to watch the recordings anyway! There’s over 100 GB of raw recordings, so let’s be patient toward those who will have the heroic duty of processing them for publishing.
A hero appears. Photo by Jakub Steiner
Photo by Jakub Steiner

I really liked that the venue was right into the heart of the city rather than on the outskirts. Strasbourg is a very pedestrian & bike-friendly city (in case you hadn’t realized from the Pitivimobile story). All the accomodation, restaurants and public transit were close by.
I was very happy to meet with a ton of people I wanted to see again, discuss issues that mattered to me and gather many insights along the way.
In the closing session, I was quite shocked by the unveiling of the Swedish Conspiracy. However, when you start looking more closely at the matter, I think some facts are difficult to overlook indeed:
Pictured: the Italo-Swedish conspiracy
Coincidence? I think not.

All in all, this year’s GUADEC felt like a more modest and informal event compared to years past, while still retaining what makes it GUADEC: great topics, great people, positive energy and one of the most welcoming communities I know.
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