GUADEC 2012 in A Corunha

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
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
 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
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