About GUADEC from a newcomer

This year I attended to GUADEC for the first time. It was also my first conference ever, I’ve never been to a FOSS conference or any other kind of conference. Maybe what I have to share about the whole experience is not something new to anyone who attends to conference with some frequency, or maybe it is something they don’t really even notice since they are already used to the whole environment 😛 Anyway, I am hoping my report encourages folks who have never been to GUADEC or other FOSS conferences.

Me at GUADEC with other GNOME folks


1st day

I sadly missed the Opening because the app showing the way to the venue was wrong ): I was lost for about 40 minutes without being able to find anyone who knew how to get to the University. It was tough, but I bravely took a cab that made me realize I was actually very close. And happily, I was there on time to watch Britt Yazel’s talk about Setting a Positive Voice for GNOME, and, after that, I watched Sriram Ramkrishna’s talk Gitlab – A Year in Review and What Should Come Next.

After a very good coffee break where Georges Stavracas introduced me some folks, I watched Nathan Willis’ talk about home automation (GNHOME AUTTOMQATION), which, to be honest, I didn’t understand very well at some points, but as someone who is interested in Home Automation stuff. I was very curious to search more about it later, it never came to my mind I could have an option to use free software to do this – and actually, one of the reasons I never started automating my house is that I don’t want anybody spying my house heh

After their talks, I found out I couldn’t buy the meal’s plan anymore xD So I went to a group of people to ask if they were having lunch and they were actually organizing to go to the newcomers lunch. We had a good time together and we ate a really good Greek meal.

Back to the venue, it was time for the intern lightning talks, where GSoC students and Outreachy interns (a.k.a. me) gave a talk about their projects. I was terribly nervous and so in shock that I can’t even recall now about what I said – and I didn’t want to watch it after it was available online heh It was my first talk in English, and even though I really knew what I had to say and it was only for 5 minutes, I was really scared. That moment was exactly when I realized everyone was interested in what I had to say, they were paying attention even when I had to stop and think about what I was going to say. And after my lightning talk, some people even stopped me to say they enjoyed it. I was really worried that maybe it didn’t go well, but everyone was so nice to me that I felt it was fine whether I was nervous or not, people got my message.

2nd day

I watched Philip Withnall’s talk about Environmentally Friendly GNOME, StellaMaris Njage’s and Sigu Migwa’s talk about Building the GNOME Community in Africa, Jakub Steiner’s talk about App Icons (Simple is Hard – Creating Beautiful App Icons) and Allan Day’s talk about GNOME UX: Strategies & Tactics.

Georges Stavracas’ talk about Mainteners and Contributors was specially very interesting to me – as I am new to contributing there are lots of things I still didn’t experience, and I even though I already knew him before the conference, I still didn’t know how he started to contribute and what was his experience.

3rd day – giving a talk to famous people

It was finally the day of my talk about Usability Testing. My talk was so important! I had stars like Allan Day, Federico Quintero, Deb Nicholson, Renata Gegaj, my GSoC friends and other GNOME friends watching me. I talked about why usability is important, how to do usability tests, showing how I did mine during my internship. I told everyone too about how was it to work with GNOME, how it did feel like and I told them how nervous I was every time I had to talk to Allan or Jim Hall, my mentor, and that I thought when I arrived that everyone was going to be very serious there, but the opposite happened and I felt very well between the community. After I finished my presentation, many people had questions and I felt people were really interested in what I presented, I was very happy about that.

SpinachCon BoF

In this BoF, which was organized by Deb Nicholson and Sriram Ramkrishna, I got the chance of knowing a different way of running usability tests: SpinachCon is a conference where developers can bring their designs, volunteers run some tasks and tell them where the usability is not good. We ran tests on some GNOME programs and I had fun sharing what I know about usability tests with everyone there. I definitely want to run SpinachCons to test some projects here!

Epanomi Beach

We had this whole day to go to the beach, relax and have fun together. I loved spending more time with the friends I made during the event!

I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible – organizers, the travel committee, contributors, speakers, friends and GNOME Foundation for sponsoring me – it was better than I could ever imagine. Everyone was very nice, I learned a lot and I really felt the sense of community between everyone and I want to continue being part of this.

Sponsored by GNOME foundation