This year I attended my second GUADEC in beautiful Almería, Spain. As with the last one I had the opportunity to meet many new people from the extended GNOME community which is always great and I can’t recommend it enough for anybody involved in the project.
The first thing that surprised me this year was the representation of GNOME downstreams including Canonical, Purism, System76 and Elementary. Each one brought to the table different perspectives on what the GNOME platform means for them and I had some great conversations with all of them. Shout out to the Elementary folks in particular who have been doing great work and I hope the two communities can grow together and improve each other (they also made a nice blog post).
So lets start with the Freedesktop 18.07 (date based versioning now!) runtime which is in a much better place than 1.6 and will be solving lots of problems such as multi-arch support and just long term maintainability. I was really pleased to see all of the investment in BuildStream and the runtime from CodeThink which is really needed in the long term.
Lastly there was a Flatpak workshop in which I helped @cassidyjames package a simple Elementary app which I hope leads to more in the future. They certainly have a unique perspective on why Flatpak would be valuable compared to most app developers since they already have their own store and single supported distro they are more focused on the self-hosting and sandboxing parts rather than the cross-distribution aspects.
There was of course a lot of discussion about GTK this year; Again @matthiasclasen already made an in-depth post about the main BoF so I won’t duplicate that here. There were other discussions though including a BoF about theming which will hopefully lead to a common base between Adwaita, Pop, and Communitheme moving forward. Purism also had a talk about using GTK for mobile interfaces which looked promising.
@nirbheek had a talk about GTK on Windows which has always been an important topic of mine having been building it in various ways for years now. I’m very excited that everything is slowly falling into place with the Meson transition of most projects, plans for binary dependencies on Windows, GTLS backend using SChannel, etc.
One of my favorite things to come from this GUADEC was the excitement the Foundation had about expanding. Rosanna Yuen had a talk about how they are going to use the recent influx of funds from the anonymous donor by hiring a few employees and how they are going to focus on getting more funding in the future. This can only be good for the Foundation and the Project as lack of resources is a constant problem in all FOSS projects.
Another constant problem within GNOME is the documentation so I went to the developer experience BoF. It was mostly focused on setting the stage for what needs to be done which is a lot but I plan on staying involved with this initiative as it continues to evolve and Bastian has made a multi part blog series over the topic with meetings scheduled in the future so hopefully something great comes of this.
In the end I’m looking forward to the future of GNOME and I will be going to LAS in Denver this September so I hope to see everybody again along with some new faces.