July 25, 2007 Archives

Wed Jul 25 19:35:11 CEST 2007

GUADEC was G-R-E-A-T (mostly)

As a lot of people already blogged about it, this won't come along as the most inventive statement ever, but: This year's GUADEC was awesome (mostly, see further down), lot's of cool stuff going on in the GNOME world atm, and a very necessary wakeup call / reality check for everyone in the community. Some of my personal highlights:

*) Quite a bunch of new ideas floating around, like the GNOME Online Desktop, PyroDesktop or other things like clutter and the stuff going on in the mobile space. Besides what one might think of each individual concept, what's - in my opinion - really important here is that people are trying to experiment with new ideas.

*) Great to see some movement in the gtk+ area, especially interesting that the people from the mobile space where the most vocal ones in cheering for some bigger changes / improvements. The current plan seems to be to get a phase of experimentation going to see what people really need, something which should result in a gtk+ 3.0 (or 4.0 ;) ) at a not yet defined point in the future.

*) Lot's of interesting new applications floating around in the GNOME universe, like the as-easy-as-it-gets personal file sharing application Giver, Banter or Conduit. Unfortunately none of them in portage. Honestly I really would like Gentoo to get more "cutting-edge" again, an appeal it has more an more lost since I started to use it (or did my expectations raise over the years instead?). But that's really something for a seperate blog entry.

*) I guess the best thing just happened by accident: As there really wasn't a lot going on in Birmingham in the evening and the weather sucked big time, lot's of people stayed in the lobby of the ETAP hotel and did some collective hacking / planning / writing / whatever. (The ETAP having free wireless didn't hurt either ;) )

*) Met lot's of nice people, too many to name them all here, you know who you all are ;)

So what were the bad things (besides the shitty weather)? I guess the same as ever (and unfortunately valid for nearly all open source projects I know):

*) There are still a lot of non-outspoken hierarchies in the whole project. This ranges from seemingly harmless constant in-jokes which are actually excluding everyone who hasn't been an "insider" for ages to a very visible distinction between the "rockstar"-hackers and everyone else. I still think GNOME - and other open source projects - would fair better by valueing non-coder contributions more. The very intersting talk Anne Ostergaard gave about the organizational structure (and current problems with that) in FLOSS was unfortunately also one of the least well attended ones.

*) But what I really find annoying (and after some days: exhausting) is the level of stupid remarks a lot of guys seem to have to make about women all the time. The same guys who say some very smart and thoughtful things about all sorts of stuff transform into Neanderthals in parts of a second when it comes to women, mostly reducing them to their looks. Obviously for a lot of guys it's just not possible to treat women with the same level of respect they show for other guys.

To sum it up: A very good conference from a technical viewpoint, but still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to social skills.

Posted by Andreas Proschofsky | Permanent Link