I’m not going to GUADEC…

Is there a badge for that? 🙂

This will only be the second time since 2001, when I revealed how many users in our study had asked what the fried egg on the GNOME menu bar meant, that I haven’t made the trip. Other than the very first GUADEC in Paris, which happened just before I joined Sun, the only other one I’ve missed is Stuttgart in 2005.

So it feels a bit weird not to be going this year, but only a bit. It’s been a while since I made a useful contribution to anything GNOMEish (unless you count the daily ritual of deleting spam from the usability list admin queue), GNOME 3 seems to be getting along just fine without any of my suggestions, and for the time being I’m not even working on any desktop projects in my day job. So this time, I suspect, I probably won’t be back at GUADEC for a while… unless it makes a return to Dublin of course 🙂

Y’all have fun now!

Usability Team Update Update

Bastien pointed out after my Usability Team Update at the GNOME Foundation AGM today that I forgot to mention another nice little project that arose directly from the UX Hackfest in London Totem Chapters/Markers support, which is being implemented by Alexander Saprykin as part of this year’s GSoC.

I was also a bit lax in namechecking some of the people I’d intended to. So as well as Hylke Bons and Thomas Wood, who I did mention, and Bastien’s mention above, kudos also to Allan Day, Mo Duffy, Karl Lattimer, Garrett LeSage, Ivanka Majic, Jon McCann, Matthew Paul Thomas, Jeremy Perry, Charlene Poirier and David Siegel who have all been directly involved in the few highlights I had time to talk about today, and to the many others who’ve contributed to the usability effort this past 12 months.

And an honourable mention to Seth Nickell for his memorable contributions to the Hackfest 🙂

My Five Answers…

… to the five questions on the GUADEC website.

1) Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Calum Benson, and I work for Oracle (neé Sun). As well as working on some GNOME-based projects for Solaris and OpenSolaris, I’m one of the authors of the original GNOME HIG, and I’m one of the maintainers of gnome-themes, where I mainly look after the high contrast themes.

2) How did you get into GNOME?

I was hired by Sun in 2000 when they started to replace CDE with GNOME in Solaris. I’ve been working on GNOME ever since, and have attended every GUADEC except Paris and Stuttgart.

3) Why are you coming to GUADEC?

To talk about, and hopefully get some work done, on the new HIG and UI pattern library that we’ve been planning to do for GNOME 3.x. I dare say one or two beers may also be consumed.

4) In 1 sentence, describe what your most favorite recent GNOME project has been. (Doesn’t have to be yours!)

Hmm. Sadly haven’t really been involved enough with any recent project enough to have a firm “favourite”, but SparkleShare could revolutionise the way designers work on GNOME. (Except me, because just at the moment it’s way too hard to get it working on OpenSolaris…)

5) Will this be your first time visiting the Netherlands?


T -1 day

Like many of you, I’m sorting myself out tonight to fly to what will be my seventh GUADEC in Istanbul tomorrow. (I’ll actually be there for two weeks, as my wife is flying out after the conference to join me for a week’s vacation.)

Pleased that there’s a very healthy crowd of Sun desktop folks attending this year (18 at last count), and rumour has it we’ll have some OpenSolaris 2008.05 LiveCDs to be giving away, so you can play along live with John Rice’s talk 🙂 Hopefully I’ll also find a few interesting things to snap with the Lomo Fisheye camera I got for my birthday last month…

The Usability Clinic is Closed

Big thanks to Máirín and particularly Garrett (as he hadn’t even volunteered beforehand) for helping me field the questions, and apologies to anyone who’d brought along something to ask or show us that we didn’t get to this time. Feel free to email me or the usability list instead (or in Alberto‘s case, just ask me in the office…)

Unfortunately that’s the last I’ll be seeing of GUADEC this year… off to visit friends in Birmingham tomorrow morning, and back to Dublin tomorrow evening. Bring on Istanbul!

Update: To the guys who asked me about keyboard layout switcher shortcuts, I was mistaken about OpenSolaris– I was thinking about input method switching, we don’t currently have a shortcut for layout switching AFAIK. (Or even a GUI, as IIRC the standard GNOME one is currently too broken on Solaris.) I still can’t think of a reason why Shift+Alt wouldn’t be okay as a default shortcut, but I’ll have to think about that a bit more…


Bit disappointed to be sitting out the FreeFA World Cup this year, especially as I’d presumably have been lining up in the menacing black kit– I have a dodgy shoulder at the moment though and I know what these “friendlies” are like!

Having only contributed one goal en route to the final last year though (albeit a sweetly-struck volley with my wrong foot), I doubt I’ll be that badly missed.