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.

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GUADEC 2016, laptops and tablets made to run GNOME, surprise Pitivi meeting

I went there for the 2016 edition of GUADEC:
I arrived a couple of days early to attend my last GNOME Foundation board meeting, in one of the KIT’s libraries. The building’s uncanny brutalist architecture only added to the nostalgia of a two years adventure coming to an end:

And so I made a new talk proposal at the last minute, which was upvoted fairly quickly by attendees:
The conference organizers counter-trolled me by inscribing it exactly like this onto the giant public schedule in the venue’s lobby:
The result was this talk: Laptops & Tablets Manufactured to Run a Pure GNOME. Go watch it now if you missed it. Note: during the talk’s Q&A session, I mistakenly thought that Purism‘s tablets were using an ARM architecture; they’re actually planned to be Intel-based. And to make things clear, for laptop keyboard layouts, Purism is currently offering US/UK, which are different physical layouts (different cutting etc.).
Also relevant to your interests if you’re into that whole privacy thing:

Vice-President’s Report — The State of the GNOME Foundation

Hi! Long time no see. My blog has been pretty quiet in recent months, in the big part due to my extended commitment on the GNOME Foundation‘s Board of Directors (for a second year without an executive director present to take some of the load) and the various business engagements I’ve had.
Generally speaking, this year was a bit less intense than the one before it (we didn’t have to worry about a legal battle with a giant corporation this time around!) although we did end up touching a fair amount of legal matters, such as trademark agreements. One big item we got cleared was the Ubuntu GNOME trademark agreement. We also welcomed businesses that wanted to sell GNOME-related merchandise, you can find them listed here—supporting them by purchasing GNOME-related items also supports the Foundation with a small percentage shared as royalties.
gnome 2016 merchandize - 1 gnome 2016 merchandize - 3 gnome 2016 merchandize - 4 gnome 2016 merchandize - 2
In the summer of 2015, I thought I’d take a break from my presidency from the year before, so I was pretty happy to have a new president and vice-president starting at GUADEC 2015 and me just being a regular board member. Some months later, Christian Hergert had to step down from his role as vice-president because he joined Red Hat, and the GNOME Foundation has a rule where the board of the directors cannot have more than two members (out of seven) from the same company/employer. I took over his role as vice-president then.

And so it went:

tails flying and supporting sonic
Pictured: me, helping Shaun tackle the big things. Sonic boom!

The board has done a lot of work in recent months. In addition to the legal agreements mentioned above, since my last report we’ve held 50 meetings (double the amount from last year; it seems bi-weekly meetings were not enough to cover all that we had to discuss!), over 2400 emails were exchanged on the board mailing list, and we wrote over 24,800 lines of discussion on our IRC channel.
When the 2016 elections came up I thought it was time to let new blood come in and participate. I needed to move on and focus on growing my own business that I have been neglecting for two years, anyway. As the new board came in, I have been gradually winding down (my role after the election and until GUADEC is mostly advisory, as I do not hold voting powers).
I am excited about the team that composes the new Board of Directors and I trust that they will do a great job. The GNOME Foundation always needs a team of experimented, positive and energetic people to come together to think, discuss and make decisions regarding the various challenges its faces. As I wrote during last year’s elections period:

For this to work, we need people that are what I call “powerhouses”, because the GNOME Foundation Board is an “active” board. This means great thinkers and proactive doers ready to deal with anything while being very capable in the board room.
The best metaphor I have for a healthy GNOME board is taken from role-playing games: a well-coordinated “level 45-70” party that will not be afraid to crawl dungeons together for a year. You need polyvalent classes just like you need specialists (analytic mages, “massive damage” knights, resourceful healers, quick & agile rangers, etc.).
So if this makes sense to anyone, I’m a hybrid mage-knight with a ton of HP/MP potions and phoenix feathers 😉

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Help us get the GUADEC 2014 videos published

For those who could not attend GUADEC 2015, video recordings have been processed and published here. You might wonder, then, what happened to the GUADEC 2014 videos. The talks in Strasbourg were recorded indeed, but the audio came from the camera’s built-in microphones (so no truly directional mic and no line-in feed). This is problematic for a number of reasons:

  • We were in the city center of Strasbourg with no air conditioning, which means that the windows were open so we heard all sorts of noises (including cars passing on the stone pavement, construction work, etc.) in addition to background noise.
  • One of the rooms did not have a speaker microphone/amplified sound system
  • The camera microphones being far from the speaker means that you hear noises from the audience (such as chairs moving)

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GUADEC 2015, surviving a fire and plane accident, etc.

So I went to GUADEC, as a community member and one of the directors of the GNOME Foundation.
Thanks to the Foundation for covering my travel and accomodation—it makes all the difference!
gnome sponsored badge shadow
It was a really good GUADEC. The local team put a huge amount of efforts into making it possible. There is a public page for sending feedback, and so far it’s pretty positive.
It’s also one of the most relaxing and enjoyable conferences I’ve had since 2011:

  • This year I did not have talks to prepare, sessions to chair, contracts or work obligations to fulfill, hackfests to hold or students to mentor for Pitivi. Therefore, this meant that I was able to focus solely on attending the talks and discussing with as many contributors as possible—and that is of incredible value. I also had good times with friends I hadn’t seen in a long while.
  • The hostel’s showers had hot water.
  • Credit cards accepted (and encouraged) everywhere—No leftover money in a niche currency!
  • Göteborg is very pedestrian-friendly and everyone on the road is courteous and patient
  • Besides tap water, there’s sparkling water on tap! What more could you wish for?

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Retour de GUADEC, conspirations

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! \(• ◡ •)/”

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