Posts Tagged ‘guadec’

GUADEC 2014 in Strasbourg

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

This year, GUADEC took place in the lovely Strasbourg in France. It was really nice to attend the conference and to hang around with people who care about Free Software. In fact, the venue itself ran Debian which was nice to see :-)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend many of the great talks as I wasn’t available for all days. And when I was, I was busy meeting people. Although it felt smaller than the last GUADEC, I think I’ve never met so many people who I wanted to talk to.

The conference offered a two-track program. Interestingly many of them looking out for a future of GNOME. John Stowers gave one of the more important talks, I think. He was describing the situation in academia. Python is very popular in the scientific computing space, he said. He was not satisfied with JavaScript being the new “default” language for GNOME applications, because the contestants are numerous and powerful. So we would compete at least against the Web and Qt. The former apparently being nice on other platforms such as Windows. GNOME’s bindings, however, were very good, he said. The technological foundation is excellent and we should leverage that potential and make people use it. However, GNOME’s story on Windows is not all too good, he said. GTK+ is becoming more and more irrelevant and even Wx appears to be as popular as Gtk. I also heard others claiming that the Windows situation is a problem. What I don’t understand is whether there are technical problems blocking easy to use ports. Apparently introspected GNOME libraries for Pyhon on Windows exist, but I don’t understand why that doesn’t do the job.

Another talk related to the future of GNOME was given byAllan Day. In order for GNOME to be successful, amongst other things, a focus on quality must be established, he said. Various ways to improve the current release process were mentioned and the audience engaged in a vivid discussion. I don’t remember the detail so I hope this will be followed up and discussed more broadly in the GNOME community.

“Why do we do desktop”, asked Matthew Garrett in his presentation. When I read that title for the first time I thought the question of the desktop becoming irrelevant was being picked up. But that was not the case. Instead, he wanted GNOME to differentiate from the existing desktops which, as he claimed, are continuing to be simple multiplexors for running several programs (such as clocks) at the same time. In contrast to existing desktop, GNOME should become the secure desktop. Other desktops, he said, would only exist in order to sell more things to the user, i.e. to tie the user to an existing ecosystem. An advantage of GNOME is it being free from corporate control. Decisions are made very transparently which enables it to focus on brining privacy and security to the user. Even if the user is not aligned with our core values and principles. As such, every user deserves as much privacy and security as we can possible provide.

Many thanks to the local team for having organised the conference. I hope next year in Gothenburg will be at least as good.

Sponsored by GNOME!

GUADEC 2013 in Brno

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

I also attended this year’s GUADEC and it was quite good. Especially because the weather was so nice. It was so burning hot that I sometimes wished it wasn’t; especially in the night… My room in the Taufer dormitories, whose service was basic at best, was heating up so heavily over the day that it took until 4 in the morning to be cool enough to be able to sleep. When opening the cold (!) water tap, the water was as warm as a mildly hot shower… But well, GUADEC is not about sleeping anyway, right? ;-)

I was kept busy with various meeting before, while and after the conference and I piled up work lasting for a few months, I guess…

The conference itself was nicely organised. The bar was set quite high last year, so I didn’t expect this year’s team to match the overall quality. And they didn’t, but they were close. The staff was helpful and professional. Issues were dealt with promptly and quite well. I hope, again, that the knowledge gained can be transferred to future GUADEC organisers.

As for the talks, I couldn’t follow many of them. The ones I have seen were mostly great. We had (too?) many keynotes which were generally interesting. Too bad the crowd didn’t notice it was trolled by Ethan Lee. He is a game developer who ported games to Linux. The message was poor and I doubt we, GNOME, profited from this keynote. The next keynote was given by the CEO of Endless Mobile, a company which tries to leverage the potential of the “middle of the pyramid” to get the next billion users and “get 50% of the market share”. The idea is to bring a cheap enough, but also elegant enough device to the people who can afford a 40 inch TV (via loans) but not a PC. As they want to sell ARM devices, he asked us to make GNOME run better on ARM chips. Cathy Malmrose, CEO of computer manufacturing company zareason, was keynoting the last day. The company puts only GNU/Linux systems on their machines before shipping them to customers. The computers they sell range from desktops over laptops to tablets. She told us that we were quite well positioned, because GNOME was so easily usable by people who don’t have much or any experience with computers. That was very refreshing and I am happy that she told us that we were doing very well. She was opening a perspective many of us probably didn’t think about before. She was really enthusiastic about Free Software and my feeling was that she cared more about the Freedoms than many of the participants.

Other talks by members of the GNOME community were lively and one the most enjoying talks was given by the sysadmin team. It was nice to be able to applaud for them in person, because they are doing such a great job.

There were Twitter walls (hehe) in every room (supposedly made with QML) and I found it to be mainly distracting while at the same time not very informative. The news running over it were mostly not worth the electricity they consumed.

Anyway, thanks to the local team and all the sponsors for making such a great event happen! If you have anything to say, leave your feedback on the wiki.

Sponsored by GNOME!

GUADEC 2012 in A Corunha

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


As so many people did, I attended GUADEC in A Conrunha *yay*. Overall, the conference was well organised. The local team was really committed and helped us a lot with all our matters. Little details like providing fruits, some sweets and chocolate for the hacking areas made everything just nice.

They also were very careful about keeping the news updated and the GUADEC website interesting. So they published interviews, photos and announcements regularly so one had an incentive to browse the website often. Very well and smartly done.

While I didn’t attend that many talks, I do think that the first keynote stood out. Jake Appelbaum gave a really inspiring talk about Tor and GNOME. He explained Tor and why it is important to provide anonymous internet access not only for wrongdoers but more so for regular people! For example, he mentioned that he had to use Tor on the venue because the WiFi would block SSH. So to get uncensored access to the network, he would use Tor. Another example was to not tell Google where you are. You authenticate with your credentials, but not from your IP, so you only share your location if you really want to. He had very clear proposals for GNOME and hope to be able to share the list soon. I, personally, would like to see us communicate very clearly, why we spy on our website users using Piwik.

The second keynote was a bit annoying, as she was referring to “open source” all the time although she really meant Free Software. Anyway, at the end of the day, I think her message was that other people exist that want a Free society and that we should not feel alone.

Between the talks, one could have a great time talking to people, especially during lunch. For not talking so much, the WiFi worked pretty well all the time. Quite amazing actually. I am also amazed by the effort people put in to things for GNOME. The locals did, i.e. put some GNOME feet stickers on the ground or hung a daily sheet on the wall to indicate today’s timetable. Daniel created an awesome Yearbook for the GSoC and OPW students and Andreas created an annual report. Thanks for working so hard on cool GNOME things!

It also happened that we had our first in person board meeting and I was very excited about that. We were quite productive during the rather long meeting. But afterwards I was quite exhausted. I guess it was the same for everyone involved. I am also quite happy to see two strong proposals for a GUADEC next year. It will be great.

Also thanks to the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring my travel to this year’s GUADEC!

I realised again, though, that I don’t like the Madrid airport and Iberia all too much. It’s a huge airport with no clear way indications, too few benches and power, and annoyingly loud and pointless passenger announcements. But well, it seems to be the cheapest in Spain…

Another huge round of “thank-yous” must be given to the i18n team. It is just incredible how they manage to cater for so many languages in usually close to no time. I have met many people at conferences or exhibitions that mentioned that if there was a success story to GNOME, it would be the translations. And the very fact that we get mails and bugreports in non english languages shows the success of the team, namely giving a very native feel to the users. To show our appreciation, we went for dinner and had a very good evening with discussions, food and wine. Again: Thanks!

PS: Here the whishlist:

Empathy should support OTR and it should be enabled by default (like adium)
I heard this so many times, I nearly stopped asking for feedback at all!
ZRTP/SRTP/TLS for all VoIP services (forward secrecy and strong crypto)
Tor controller extension for gnome-shell – why settle for only having
Vidalia?
What if we could contextually launch applications anonymously? A 'Launch
Torified' context for applications (perhaps with torsocks?)-
 NAT? Who cares? How about 'single-click file sharing over hidden services?
 Decentralized instant messaging – resist traffic analysis (Federated
XMPP HS? For extra fun add decentralized and anonymous offline message
queuing.)
 network-manager improvements:
Ability to configure wireless networks before connecting to them
VPN 'automatically connect' checkbox should work and no traffic should
leak before the VPN comes up.
 VPN connections must fail closed.	
Ability to override DNS settings for all connections.
macchanger support in network-manager
Random MAC addresses per connection or per if-up
Ability to use a Tor DNS resolver on unpriviliged port
Normal modem support
Full Tor support in NetworkManager
Think of it as a free VPN
Full Guest mode in Gnome/GDM that uses Tor by default for all network
traffic – don't just refuse to write data to the disk, refuse to write
information to the bare network too

Keysigning BoF at GUADEC

Friday, July 27th, 2012

For this year’s GUADEC I like to have a place and time to do some keysigning. I think the last official Keysigning Party was held during the GUADEC in Gran Canaria. So I reserved something on the official BoF wiki, we’ll meet on 30.07 at 16:00 in Room 2.7.

To strengthen the Web of Trust we will have a small Keysigning Party. While we are unfortunately not very good at using OpenPGP, we luckily don’t need to prepare much. So there is no need to send your key to anyone or do anything else, really. We just meet up, exchange key material and convince ourselves about our identities.

Desktop Summit 2011 in Berlin

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

This years GUADEC^W DesktopSummit took place in Berlin. Sure thing that I attended :-) Due to loads of stuff happening meanwhile, I didn’t come around to actually write about it. But I still want to mention a few things.

It was, like always, pretty nice to see all the faces again and catch up. The venue was almost excellent and provided good lecture halls and infrastructure, although the wireless was a bit flaky and spots to sit down and get together were sparse. Anyway, I have never seen so many actual users or wannabe users. Being in the heart of Germany’s capital definitely helped to make ourselves visible. Funnily enough, I met some folks who I chatted up during LinuxTag while I was presenting GNOME. I invited them to come to the DesktopSummit and so they did \o/

There were many talks and I didn’t see most of them. In fact, I was volunteering and meeting people so I couldn’t attend many lectures. But there was nothing I regret not having seen. The ones I did see were interesting enough, but not ground breaking. There’s a good summary over here.

We tried to record the talks but for some technical reasons it didn’t work out of the box. The network was too slow and no disks were available. We convinced the guy in charge to make us buy disks which eventually got used but I actually don’t know whether the lectures will be released at all.

A nice surprise was Intel giving away ExoPCs. In return they required you to sit and listen to presentations about their Appstore thingy called “AppUp“. Apparently a technology that tries to resemble OBS (because of distributing software via the web) and .debfiles+Synaptic (because of distributing software with a native GUI) with an additional payment layer in between. But it fails big time to do so. Not only can it not build binaries out of the sources that you give it, but it also can’t track dependencies. Welcome to 2011. Needless to say that it’s heavily targeted for Windows. Double fail that you can’t build Windows software for their store thing without having a Windows platform (and development tools) yourself.

The PC itself is neat. It’s a full tablet with only one soft key. The MeeGo version that came with it was out of date and updating was a major pain in the afternoon. It involved getting a USB keyboard because the OnScreenKeyboard would of course not show up if you open a terminal. And you needed a keyboard, because you can of course not update the software with that MeeGo version. There is no software management application at all. And most certainly, Intel’s new AppUp thing is not included in the latest and greatest release. In fact, it’s not even easily installable as it involves googling for the RPM file to be manually installed. By now I talked to Intel engineers and it seems that an actual vendor is supposed to integrate their version of the AppUp thing in the rest of the OS. So Intel doesn’t see itself in the position to do this. Other weird glitches include the hardware: While the ExoPC has a rotation sensor, it would be way to boring if it worked; so it doesn’t. And the hardware turns itself off after a while. Just like that. It feels like we have at least 3 years of engineering left before we can start dreaming of being able to ship a tablet platform that is ready for a day to day use. I have to note that the content centric UI approach is definitely very handy. Let’s hope it improves by fixing all those tiny things around the actual UI.

The discussion about a joint conference was bubbling up again. Of course. The main argument against a joint conference seems to be that it is considered to slow GNOME’s development down if we meet together, because we have to give time to the other people and cannot do our own program meanwhile. There are probably many variations of that argument, including that we do not collaborate anyway, so let’s rather not invest time in a joint conference.

While I do agree that the current form of the conference is not necessarily optimal, I don’t think that we should stop meeting up together. At the end of day, multiple (desktop) implementations or technologies are just pointless duplications. So let’s rather try to unify and be a unity (haha, pun intended) instead of splitting up further. I am very well aware of the fact that it’s technically unrealistic right now. But that’s the future we endeavour and we should work on making it possible, not work against it. So we don’t necessarily need to have a fully joint conference. After all, our technologies do differ quite substantially, depending on how you look at it. But let’s give each other the opportunity to learn about other technologies and speak to the key people. We might not fully make use of these opportunities yet, but if we design the conferences in a way that the camps have enough time to handle their internal issues and before or afterwards do a joint thing, then no harm is done if opportunities weren’t taken.

Another hot topic were Copyright Assignments. There was a panel made up of interesting people including Mark Shuttleworth. The discussion was alright, but way too short. They barely had 45 minutes which made it less than 15 minutes each. Barely enough to get a point across. And well, I didn’t really understand the arguments *for* giving away any of your rights. It got really weird as Mark tried to make another point: It would be generous if a contributor donated the code to the company and the participants should take into account that generosity would be a strong factor contributors would strive for. I haven’t seen that point being discussed anywhere yet, so let me start by saying that it is quite absurd. What could be more generous than giving your code to the public and ensuring that it stays freely available?! Just to be very clear: The GPL enables you to effectively do exactly that: Release code and ensure that it remains free.

I was delighted to see that the next GUADEC will take place in A Corunha. I’d rather have gone to Prague though. But maybe the Czech team can be motivated to apply again the next time.

GUADEC 2010 – The Hague

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I’ve been to GUADEC *yay*! I am going to summarize some of the talks I’ve attended and some of the many seriously interesting conversations I’ve during this week. But in short: This was one of the best GUADECs, progress wise. I met many people, brought my teams (bugsquad and membership-committee) forward, had new inspirations and fixed some bugs :-)

But the week started with some work. Apparently, the network was not fully set up yet and we had to use a lot of duct tape to set everything up. After people saw me being “in charge” for the network, they started to complain why the network was not running properly ;-) The problem was, that the Uplink was kind of broken. Basically a big firewall blocked that many connections because it thought it was under attack. The solution then was to claim some of the universities IP addresses and do a big SNAT for the users.

Having said that, the network was up and running perfectly on Wednesday, making it a perfectly networked GUADEC :-) The last GUADECs usually had some troubles with the connection even after the event started (remember the broken uplink on Gran Canaria or the rather bad wireless situation in Birmingham?).

The Hotel’s wireless was ridiculously expensive. They wanted 10 quid for 24 hours. But I realized, that the default gateway is announced as being at 192.168.1.1 and if you visited that with a web browser, you’d find out that it was a Zyxel VSG-1200. Turns out, documentation is very verbose, including a default username and password… The rest is left as an exercise for the reader. If you didn’t want to go that route, you could easily claim an active MAC-Address and IP and reuse the authentification…

The talks were streamed and I hope recordings will be made available soon. Good summaries were already given in the official GUADEC blog and various others so I won’t go into too much detail, because .

I haven’t seen covered that Xan and Fernando mocked about the newly promulgated Speaker Guidelines which they didn’t respect either. It’s an interesting discussion though. It is obviously a shield for attacks from the outside so that we (as GNOME) can point to these guidelines if one of our speakers might have offended anyone. But do we, as GNOME, need such a thing in first place? And what happens if we refer to those guidelines over and over again but nobody complies with those? Probably nothing. But do we need to lie to ourselves then? Can’t we expect the people to have enough common sense? Do we want to be a community where we can’t assume enough common sense?

An issue that I didn’t really understand was that the usual picking on Canonical took place. Apparently, people expected Canoncial to contribute more since 1999 than they actually did. But they have been founded 2004… That comment summarizes that fact well. Also, I don’t really get why people expect a distributor to engineer stuff in, say, GNOME. I don’t hear anybody complaining about, say, Mandriva or Gentoo.

Bred Kuhn told us to save human lives by rolling out more crypto within GNOME. I couldn’t agree more. But sadly, we have a long way to go. For now, you can’t even handle your OpenPGP key in a sane way, i.e. rolling over to a new key. It strikes me that we still don’t have a concept encrypted end to end communication, i.e. with Telepathy (well, email is too broken to be tackled). Apparently XTLS should be used. But no PKI will be used, thus discouraging the enhancement of the OpenPGP Web of Trust. It would be absolutely brilliant if Telepathy used OpenPGP keys (maybe even create one if none existed). If then spoken with another entity via Telepathy, it could ask the user to verify the other persons identity via, say, a Videochat. That chat would use the public key material for encryption. The assumption is that the two parties know each other and that a man-in-the-middle cannot spoof valid data quick enough. The other persons key would then more or less automatically be signed. I talked a lot to Stef Walter and other people around GNOME-Keyring and Seahorse and we had good ideas. Let’s see how much we can get done.
But we’ll have a long way to go, since GNOME doesn’t even provide fundamental encryption for it’s webservices, i.e. live.gnome.org or even the RequestTracker :-(

As for the teams I feel responsible for, I met with a few Bugsquad folks and we’ve discussed a few things. I am still in Post-GUADEC mode to get everything off my Todo-List that accumulated over GUADEC. The most immediate action is to get close bugs of deprecated modules and get rid of the products in Bugzilla. Other lower priority issues are to (finally!) organise a bugday and test a JetPack which helps dealing with Bugzilla

I also had a few discussion related to the GNOME Foundation Membership process. We somehow have to think about the people that feel intimidated joining the GNOME Foundation. Also we will discuss our strategy and policy of evaluating non trivial contributions to GNOME.

Having said all that. I want to that the GNOME Foundation for paying my accommodation and making such a productive week possible.

Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

The GCDS has just finished and I think it was a great and successful conference. It was the first joint aKademy + GUADEC conference and I feel it turned out quite well. We could have had more explicit collaboration or more attention on the “other” talks, but I think the people have to get used to the fact that there are people with different approaches who you can talk to. Let’s hope it’ll be a joint convention next year as well (I always wanted to spend a week or two in Finland…).

The registration process was a bit weird, because the organizers wanted to know private data without even trying to make clear what they are used for. In fact, the only thing I could see (even from a retro perspective) is to collect the data. As I’ve stated in a mail buried in this thread, I don’t really like that for several reasons and I hope that the next organization committee will not collect absolutely necessary data.

The first day began with a RMS keynote for me. I expected it to be really bad because for some reason the people say that RMS’ talks are boring, stubborn and repetitive. I’ve never heard a RMS talk before and I couldn’t apply any of these critics onto his talk. In fact, I really liked and enjoyed it, although it was not necessarily pleasant to listen because he disagrees with our decisions: He doesn’t like to see new applications to be written in C# because the Software Freedom Law Center doesn’t think that the Community Promise guarantees that Microsoft will not charge patent fees. I am not into that topic but I believe that the SFLC does a good job. And I also trust the SFLC more than I trust Microsoft. So it’s not about patents in general (which should be abolished anyway) but rather about not putting too many weight onto our Desktop so that we can get rid of C# apps easily in case of fire^W ugly patent stuff. And I don’t know what’s not clear about that: As the risk seems to be there and we want to have a free desktop in the future, we have to watch out now to not fall into a Bitkeeper trap.

I also don’t agree with travis or lefty who think the reference to an EMACS virgin is sexist or mixing different topics (software freedom and religion in this case) is unhealthy. RMS clearly referred to the Christian church and it’s habits, so if there is anything bad, it’s to be search in these circles. Also, virtually everyone has cheered after RMS’ performance. And I wouldn’t go that far and call all the audience sexist. Actually, I dislike the idea of (computer) engineers answering sociologists questions for the same reason I don’t ask a sociologist in case of computer trouble (I like it, when they think, talk and discuss about it though). From an intersectional point of view, I’d ask whether the strong focus on women is actually sexist, because there is clearly more than one domain we have minorities in. Take Blacks, Jews, Disabled or Queers or people with an inside out belly button for example. By constantly reciting that women are a minority, we could actually harden this situation instead of making it disappear. I could actually write a paper about it, as I need one for university anyway to finish my Gender Studies.

The parties were all awesome, thanks to Canonical, Nokia, Igalia and Collabora who really know how to throw a good party. I wonder why Google didn’t show up though.

I also have to thank the GNOME foundation for sponsoring my trip to Gran Canaria! It’s really good to see that my contributions are valued and that I can improve them by attending various talks and sessions. This year was especially useful because we could attend the KDE peoples sessions. I especially enjoyed being at the KDE bugsquad sessions to share and improve ideas.
Sponsored by GNOME!

Although I took some photos, I won’t upload them to flicker, but the people seem to tag their photos with “gcds” or “guadec”. I have looked through a couple of them and they seem to be all good. But I couldn’t make it through all of them as there are way too many.

Two major drawbacks were the relocation of the conference and the Internet connectivity during the event: We moved from the rather central Alfredo Kraus Auditorium to the suburban University on the fourth day or so. That was inconvenient because it took ages to get there. The Internet thing is totally unrelated to the organizers, but left a bad taste anyway. The uplink was totally broken with a packet loss with up to 75% in “So6-0-0-0-grtmadno1.red.telefonica-wholesale.net”.

I’m looking forward to next years GUADEC or maybe “TDS”… :-)

Bugsquadding Talk on GCDS

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I just had my talk with Pedro and I think it went quite well.

We talked about how to do QA in GNOME and how to use our tools properly. There were about 30 people listening and discussing with us. It was a great honour to meet the bugsquad heros like Philip, Akhil and guenther. Thanks to Andre to look over our slides.

Besides telling about our infrastructure, we slightly discussed alternative ways to access our bug database: There seems to be DeskZilla and Mylyn to work with bugzilla through the XML-RPC API. I haven’t tried Deskzilla yet (the GNOME key link is broken atm), but Cosimo says it doesn’t work with the GNOME bugzilla probably because it’s heavily patched. I wonder when we’ll migrate to Bugzilla-3…
I tried Mylin but it unfortunately doesn’t work either :( You can query and show the bugs but you can’t update them. It’s a pity because I think that webinterfaces suck in general and our GNOME bugzilla in special.

Although the intended target group wasn’t there, we managed to recruit triagers :) Let’s hope they’ll stay with us for a while. You can find the bugsquad-slides.

I followed the KDE Bugsquad BoF and we discussed several things. They seem to have more fundamental problems than we do, especially getting the bugzilla used by the developers. I collected a couple of ideas: Given that you can’t edit bugs right away if you just have created an account, would it be good to automatically set editing right once a user has commit permissions on the VCS? What about a bugsquad (micro) blog to keep the community informed and involved? It could be a good idea to have kind of a monthly digest which will be sent around. I also envy the KDE Bugdays which apparently are a lot of work, but also potentially recruits new bug triagers. Maybe one could write an webapp for managing the work involved…