It’s about time for me to write a short report on the
GUADEC… I’m probably the last one to do it.

I am glad that I decided to go to the GUADEC even if that
was a last-minute decision, because otherwise I
would
have missed a great event and many opportunities to talk to
some
very cool guys. The discussions in the corridors, in the
hacking room
and around some restaurant tables were as important as the
scheduled talks (if not more). I talked to some hackers
that I had
met before (Sven and Mitch) and
many others that I met for the first time: Tigert (he got
many requests for creating new icons and did some amazing
things), Lauri Alanko
(he reminded me of my Quake days), Raph Levien (he
was very busy but he had some nice examples of his new
printing stuff), Tim Janik and
Owen Taylor (the GTK+ guys), Keith Packard, Ville Pätsi, David
Monniaux
and many others who will hopefully forgive me
for not mentioning their names here.

Some random notes about what happened while I was
there:

  • I had my camera with me but since it is not a digital
    one,
    it will take a few days before I can scan the photos and put
    them
    on some web site. I wonder if Larry Ewing
    will be
    happy to see a picture of himself sleeping in the hacking
    room. I also wonder what others will think of Miguel de
    Icaza after seeing
    his various facial expressions. I hope that the photos will
    be OK – the film is not developed yet.

  • On Thursday evening, we went to a small restaurant for
    dinner. There was an interesting discussion between Owen
    Taylor and Keith Packard about the way X Window handles
    scrolling and backing store (Owen: it sucks; Keith: it’s not
    my fault, and you should not use it like that anyway).

  • On Friday and Saturday morning, the agenda said that the
    hacking room would be open from 8am until noon. I was not
    really
    surprised to see that the room was almost empty in the early
    morning (people started to come after 10am). Around noon,
    the room was filled with hackers glued to their laptops.

  • It was funny to see tigert and drc arguing about who
    should get the pen and/or the mouse for drawing some icons
    and other stuff. There were not enough computers in the
    room.

  • While tigert was using the GIMP, I wrote down all the
    bugs and other undocumented features that we discovered. I
    will try to fix some of them before 1.2 is released.

  • I liked the presentation of Evolution. I even won a
    small plush bonobo for guessing that Matt Loper (one of the
    authors) was using Outlook as his e-mail client. Despite
    the boos and bahs that came from the audience, I think that
    it is important to have a groupware tool that can be used
    easily by non-hackers. There is still some work to be done,
    but Evolution seems to be a good answer to that problem.

  • The presentation of Nautilus was also great. If they
    manage to
    include all of the features that were demoed as well as the
    ones that are planned into something that is stable and
    reasonably small and fast, then GNOME will have a very good
    file manager. Andy surprised some people with some quick
    hacks (i.e. being able to drag some colors into the window
    resulting in a nice gradient for the background) but there
    were many more important things that do not always look cool
    but are helpful for the user. For example, I liked the zoom
    levels giving more and more information about the files
    (similar to what EPOC does on the Psion 5). I also like the
    fact that the icons are trying to show (a part of) the
    contents of the files, and that the users can customize many
    display options. The different modes were also a good idea,
    so that the novice users are not lost in the menus and
    options. Oh, and of course the “view as music” option was
    very cool.

  • After seeing the demos, it looks like the GNOME
    applications such as dia and gnumeric have evolved a lot
    since I had a look at them. I think that I will grab a
    recent version and install them on my PC.

  • The HelixCode party on Saturday night was nice, except
    that the music was a bit too loud (for some reason, many
    hackers prefered to talk outside instead of going on the
    dance floor). This is also the first time that I go to a
    party in which the bar presents a selection of appetizers,
    drinks, CD-ROMs and plush bonobos. I didn’t try to eat the
    CDs.

Well, what else can I say, except that I am looking
forward to GUADEC 2…

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