Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 3

Written by Stephen Pearce

GNOME Anniversary Party
Party time!

This is the third of a multi-part report from GUADEC 2017. You can read parts one and two here and here.


Saturday was perhaps the most relaxed of the main conference days for me. I was able to enjoy many of the talks, learn a lot and connect with people.

I first attended Martin’s talk on Emeus, a new layout manager for GTK+ that supports constraints. I’m very new to the GNOME platform from a development point of view, so it was good to get an idea of how interfaces can be assembled in 2017.

I then attended Carlos and Florian’s GNOME Shell State of the Union session. I’ve lost touch with the Free Software desktop in recent years, so it was nice to get an idea of what has changed and what features will be coming down the pipeline.

That afternoon, Jonathan delivered a comprehensive history of GNOME. My first exposure to GNOME was around the mid 2000s, so it was great to get an understanding for all the events leading up to that time. The talk reminded me of the many highs and struggles the desktop has experienced over the years. With Ubuntu making it’s way fully back to GNOME and Flatpak really taking off, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the project.

Next up was a moving talk by GNOME Foundation Executive Director Neil McCovern. He presented a vision for a potentially dark future. The talk struck a chord with me and inspired some thinking around the ethical implications of what I do. There’s a better way to do web services and data, and I should lend my experience to those efforts.

The day closed with the GNOME Foundation AGM and group photo. The takeaway for me was a much clearer understanding of the GNOME Foundation, the various committees and how resources are allocated to particular efforts. I was also inspired by the concept of a hackfest here, since it was reported that hackfests were down in the year prior. More on that later…

We wrapped up the day with the GNOME 20th Anniversary Party at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. I want to thank everyone who approached me that evening asking questions and pointing me towards particular people. I had a great chat with Todd from Purism in particular - making the case for PWAs on their upcoming mobile platform.

This event, the many discussions I had and the walk back afterwards made this one of the highlights of the conference for me. The good feels would stay with me long into Sunday.