Evan Welsh ewlsh // rockon999

GUADEC Thoughts

GUADEC Thoughts


This month I had the amazing opportunity to attend GUADEC, the GNOME community conference in Europe! The GNOME Foundation generously sponsored this trip as part of my Google Summer of Code project and I can’t thank them enough!


This year GUADEC took place in Almería, Spain at the Universidad de Almería. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. The city offered amazing cultural opportunities and the university space was well-maintained, had excellent WiFi, and a very kind staff!

Day 0

I arrived!

Day 1

I started off GUADEC right by volunteering at check-in. I made many buttons at the merchandise stand for eager attendees and diagnosed some interesting CUPS driver errors.

From there, I moved on to practicing for my lightning talk with Carlos Soriano. All of the interns present gave a short presentation on their work, it served as a great time to bond with the other interns and sync into their work.

After the lightning talks, the first day of GUADEC - gone in a second - came to a close and we moved to the beach for an exciting Beach Party! This was my first taste of the Mediterranean and it wouldn’t be my last.

Day 2

I started Day 2 with JavaScript in GNOME in 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed the work Philip has put in over the course of this year. I stayed in the room to see Making a Phone Call in GNOME which was an interesting introduction to the upcoming Purism Phone and also a fascinating look into the telephony stack of GNOME. It certainly caught my eye and I will be following their development blog closely.

I took a short break from talks at this point and got together with Avi, my fellow GNOME JavaScript intern, for some interesting discussions on GJS Linting and Developer Experience in the BoF/Hackspace.

I returned to the talks to see some interesting work by Slimbook and then was exciting to attend my first GNOME Annual Meeting! It was great to see the board discuss the future of GNOME and how they plan to allocate the recent donations they’ve received!

At the end of the day a few friends and I split off from the group, grabbed some food from a local market, and had a nice picnic in a local park. We joined the group again for the end of a fantastic castle tour and a beautiful dance show afterwards.

Day 3

Today marked the final day of official GUADEC! I very much enjoyed the final lightning talks which were an excellent opportunity for fun GNOME projects, interesting life skills (lock-picking :D), and amazing human beings to all come together.

And with that the official conference was done and it was time to BoF!

Day 4

On the first day of BoFs I volunteered my first few hours helping organize t-shirts and cleanup the conference supplies with Kat. From there, I spent time with friends in the hackfest room working some GJS developer tools that we had discussed earlier in the conference.

The day ended with a nice trip to the beach with my fellow interns and we build our first sandcastle. Little did we know this would be the prototype for Sandcastle BoF the following day.

Day 5

The second day of BoF(s) was by far my favorite. I sat in on the GUADEC and Theming BoFs and had a great time offering my input and suggestions in addition to hearing interesting viewpoints from around the community.

In the GUADEC BoF we talked a lot about how to better streamline the conference in the future and fix technical and logistical issues going forward. I’m working on better management inside of GitLab (more to follow!) and exploring dedicated hardware for mobile payment systems!

For theming there was a lot of discussion on how to balance the needs of themers, app developers, and the community overall. I think we settled on a good framework moving forward: a palette-style API for downstream distro branding, a more limited, yet specified stock icon pack, and an extended community icon specification for other purposes.

At the end of the day, exhausted. Niclas and I got everyone together for an exciting and amazing Sandcastle BoF! It was an excellent afternoon of everyone in GNOME coming together for some super fun and super relaxing beach time.

Day 6

On the final day of BoFs I joined the Developer Center group to discuss GJS’ work on developer documentation and ways forward for GNOME as a community.

We discussed…

  • A hackfest in February to work on a product
  • Standardizing introductory tutorials on one, newcomer-friendly language and offering alternative languages later
  • Platforms to build on
  • Multiple language support
  • Addressing the messy state of Developer Center as it stands today

Overall, after this BoF I felt very optimistic for the future of the GNOME development experience.

In the afternoon I worked on GJS with Avi and Philip, but spent a bit of time with the Meson BoF debugging an issue I had with Meson and Babel integration and discussed improving the default build settings for Meson to reduce confusion in instances where files retain their names during compilation (JavaScript compilation).

After a long day, I joined my friends in exploring Almería (we found a wonderful bakery!) before preparing to leave and departing via Bus to Madrid where I hopped on a plane back to home.

Thanks again to the GNOME Foundation!

Sponsored by the GNOME Foundation